Do What You Trained to Do
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford

The words I heard the Birmingham approach controller use were ominous. “Sigmet,” I heard him say. (“Sigmet” means there’s really bad news about the weather.) “A severe thunderstorm is directly over BHM. Ceilings and visibility are below minimums.”

My heart sank. I was flying our little airplane, 1369 Juliette, with my friend Charlotte from our home in Greenville SC to Birmingham AL for a Joyful Woman Jubilee. When I’d checked the weather that morning, the report was CAVU: clear air and visibility unlimited, with no mention of the possibility of a thunderstorm. Flying into a thunderstorm was simply not an option. I shuddered to think of trying to navigate around those high radio antennas near the airport. What in the world was I going to do?

“In an emergency,” I could almost hear my flight instructor remind me severely, “do what you’ve trained to do. A 180o turn is in order here.”

We had just flown over Gadsen airport. I could easily and safely land there, rent a car, and drive into Birmingham. The only problem? When I braked to turn off the Gadsen runway, the left brake line ruptured. No problem when you’re flying, but on the ground you have to brake to turn the plane right or left. At that time Gadsen had no airplane mechanic on the field to repair it. I decided I’d have to worry about that later.

The conference was a tremendous blessing, and Charlotte and I drove back to Gadsen for the flight home. I had exhausted all the possibilities of finding a mechanic to fix the brakes. How could I safely land in Greenville without brakes? “Do what you trained to do.”

How had I been trained for a brakeless landing? Maybe use a soft-field approach? At minimum approach speed? With full flaps? I phoned my husband and he agreed that should work.

As I rolled to an easy stop on the Greenville runway, I could see Walt and my instructor standing anxiously at the edge of the runway. My instructor patted Walt on the shoulder and said, “She did what she was trained to do.”

Recently I thought of that incident when I was counseling a woman about a spiritual problem. She thought she was being forced to make a choice between two evils. She thought she’d choose the lesser of the two evils. But a “lesser evil” is still evil. Surely that couldn’t be God’s good will for her!¬†Second Peter 1:3,4¬†says:

As we know Jesus better, His divine power gives us

everything we need for living a godly life. . . .
And by that same mighty power,

He has given us all of His rich and wonderful promises.

God’s Word teaches us everything we need to know about how to live a godly life. That dear woman didn’t have to settle for the lesser of two evils. As she looked back on all she had learned in her Christian life, suddenly everything seemed simple. In this time of great trouble in her life, she needed to do exactly what she had been taught by the Scriptures.

Thunderstorms threatening you? Fearful about decisions you must make? No good options? Don’t panic. Trust God’s promises. “Do what you trained to do.”