George A. Bowers Sr.: Don’t lock God out of your cockpit

George Bowers Sr.

On March 24, Capt. Patrick Sondenheimer briefly left the cockpit of Germanwings Flight 9525. While he was gone, the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, subsequently locked him out and took full control of the airplane. After reprogramming the onboard computer for a precipitous descent, it was just a matter of time until the plane and all 150 passengers and crew smashed into that French mountain at 430 miles per hour, killing everyone on board.

As the investigation into the air tragedy continues and as speculation circulates about Lubitz’s motives, the fact remains that many people paid for the actions of a determined individual who willfully locked his commander out of the cockpit.

Far too many times, I’ve done this in my own life. When I was younger, I sometimes locked my parents out of my life’s control room, convinced that I knew better than did they, only to experience some tough crashes. Later, it was employers, teachers, pastors, or friends who tried to offer help or advice along my life’s flight that I ignored to my own hurt. But mostly, I’ve locked God out far too often, determined that I know more about flying my life than does he. And this has caused the greatest problems.

Thankfully, our decisions to ignore God’s input and lordship often do not result in immediate physical death. But they certainly lead to a multitude of problems that not only affect us, but all those who are on this flight of life with us, including our families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Because of the pain suffered by myself and others, I’m learning more and more to let God fly my plane and just enjoy the journey. Whenever I grab the controls and force my will on the flight, problems develop and crashes are inevitable.

We not only need to allow God to pilot our personal lives, we also need him to fly our local, state, and federal governmental planes as well. We need him to fly the planes of our culture and entertainment, our businesses and corporations, and our schools and universities. For far too long we’ve been locking God out of the cockpits of these institutions to our own detriment. As a result, we see a culture, an economy, and even an entire nation nose-diving toward destruction. We cannot sustain current levels of debt and trade imbalance. We cannot continue to kill our unborn children and expect to fly high. We cannot ignore God’s plan for marriage and family and expect the airliner called “American Society” to stay airborne for long. When we lock God out of our cockpits, serious consequences will ensue.

As we contemplate the challenges facing this president and the one who will be elected next year, let us unlock the doors of our lives and invite God to have a go at the controls. Let’s invite him into the cockpits of our businesses, legislatures, courtrooms and classrooms. Let’s invite him to grasp the throttle and the control stick and raise the nose of our plane toward heaven instead of a path of downward destruction.

Those of us in leadership are responsible for the others who ride our planes and it behooves us to seek God’s help before we crash them into a mountainside with us. Let us daily decide to allow God to captain our individual lives and our corporate institutions. The flight will be much smoother and the destination will be much grander. Let us stop locking God out of our cockpits. Blessings, George

George Bowers Sr. is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, “Wit and Wisdom of the Woods.” He can be reached at gabowers@shentel.net.