There are three times in a commercial airliner that the "Fasten Seat Belt Sign" comes on:
- At take off
- Upon landing
When I am flying I don't mind the seat belt sign on being during take off. I am so used to putting my seal belt on every time I climb into my car buckling up that it's second nature on a plane.
And of course, when the plane is landing it makes sense to be snuggling buckled in. Actually, if I am on a short flight or a connecting flight I usually stay belted into my seat.
But I, like every other flyer, am not thrilled when the sign comes on with the announcement from a flight attendant or from the flight deck, "The captain has turned on the "Fasten Seat Belt Sign" because we will be flying into some rough air."
No one likes turbulence. And when you see that sign and hear that announcement you begin to wonder who bad it will be and how long it might last. Suddenly you remember that you are packed into a narrow metal tube that is hurtling through space at 500 miles per hour 35,000 feet above the ground and whatever happens is totally beyond your control.
That is scary!
Except for the 500 mph and the 35,000 feet altitude, life is filled with turbulent moments. You may be in the middle of rough air right now and you are hoping to buckle yourself to something stable. Life is very scary and you have no idea how long it might last.
Perhaps you are not experiencing turbulence right now but the seat belt light is blinking. Your boss has been cutting back your hours at work and he seems to be avoiding you. Or, you lost your job, you haven't had an interview despite sending dozens of resumes and your savings are dwindling. Maybe you have been getting strange vibes from your husband and he seems a bit distant lately. Perhaps your teen-age daughter seems distracted and has apparently loss interest in long-time friends. There is a bad feeling deep in your gut that something painful is on the horizon.
The Apostle Paul, who lived a very turbulent life during turbulent times wrote from prison to Christians living under the reign of the sadistic Emperor Nero. Persecution was ramping up throughout the Roman Empire and no one knew how long it would last or how much worse it would get.
It was in these troubling circumstances Paul wrote this encouragement to the Church at Philippi: