On Earth as It Is in Flight

Travel reminds us of our God-ordained dependence on others.

There’s a call button above every seat on commercial airplanes. In all my travels, I don’t think I’ve ever used it. I’m not sure if that is due to shyness or to pride, as there have certainly been times when I acutely needed help while seated.

While traveling recently, for example, I endured some delays and was thirsty. Yet I waited to ask for anything until the plane reached 10,000 feet, when the flight attendants came row by row to grant our drink requests. I didn’t press the call button. It always seems more courteous to wait.

Travel can be an exercise in rediscovering our dependence on others. I don’t mind helping others, but I don’t particularly like having to ask for help. I’ve learned some helpful insights from all the “codependent no more” writings that were popular a few decades ago. But the reality is that we wouldn’t survive without each other. Humans are fundamentally interdependent.

I notice my need for others especially when I’m sick or when I am traveling with small children. I notice it when I’m in a new city, when I’m reading a map—especially if I’m in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language.

In his 33 years on this earth, Jesus boldly trusted his Father God to meet his daily needs. He practiced this, asking his Father for provision. And he knew what it meant to be thirsty, just like us.

As Jesus hung on the cross, one of the last phrases he spoke out loud was “I am thirsty” (John 19:28). This three-word inclusion in the Gospels is a subtle yet significant acknowledgment of Jesus’ human need. His thirst dignifies our humanity. He offered up this holy complaint, a declaration of his …

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