I sat by a retired Air Force pilot on a return flight from my grandma’s funeral. (I wasn’t his co-pilot. We were both passengers on someone else’s plane). After our initial small talk to determine interaction and space boundaries, the former pilot asked the purpose of my trip. When I said it was related to a funeral, he opened a discussion about faith amid death.
He candidly stated that since he’s never died, he doesn’t have a clue about the after-earth life. He shared that he doesn’t claim a formal religious belief, but he practices a four-word faith: Thank you. I’m sorry. We used those four words to elevate to a higher altitude of conversation as we flew toward our earthly destination.
After our lofty interchange, I got my head out of the clouds to question if my faith leads more when I’m thankful or I’m sorry. I think there is a regular shift between leader and follower. Sometimes I’ve made harsh judgments or poor decisions and my Creator awakens me to see the error. In that case, thank you follows I’m sorry. It’s humbling to apologize first but later, that leads to gratefulness for clarity to prevent, or at least decrease, future missteps.
Other times I quickly recognize my stumbling block (s) and sigh with relief, “Thank you Lord for keeping me from downward spiraling. I’m sorry for missing the mark.” In those cases, my thank you precedes my apology.
Whether I lead with I’m sorry or I’m thankful, that pilot’s four-word faith reminded me of another simple but powerful excerpt: A sin is a mistake, but a mistake isn’t necessarily a sin. These short reminders offer long-term inner growth.
Eph. 3:12 teaches that we can approach God with freedom and confidence so, with gratitude or sorrow, I lead with Him as my Pilot Light. Creator of faith and action, remind me to perpetually look for ways to thank You. Make me quick and eager to say I’m sorry when I have made a wrong turn. Keep my eyes lifted to You with appreciation and plant my feet firmly in Your peace.
Elevating my thoughts and grounding my actions in my Creator’s truth, Christina