A Group of People

Through the Window of a Plane

In airplane, belief, life, mountains, Mt. Hood, perspective, reflection on February 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm

By Gunnar Simonsen

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.” (Habakkuk 3:19)

A blanket of fresh snow covers the earth. White snow and blue skies as far as the eye can see. The mornings crisp cold air surrounds Mt. Hood with all its splendor and glory.

As I press my hand tightly up against the window, Mt Hood and its 10,000+ feet fits nicely into my palm. The air outside is cold, but I am warm inside this plane. The blanket of snow is not snow, but clouds that give way to this peak.

I recall as a child going up to Mt. Hood with my family. I think some relatives were visiting. Of course, anytime someone visits Oregon, you’ve got to take them to the mountain.

The drive up seemed long as I was propped up in the middle of the back seat. As a typical child, I am sure I was getting antsy.

Suddenly, there it was…as we wound our way around the mountain, the giant trees surrounding us gave way to a most awesome sight.

I remember looking UP at this mountain thinking how huge it was. Fear and respect gripped me with awesome wonder as the rays of sunlight seemed to surround its peak like a halo.

A few years had passed since that trip, and I had taken up skiing. I will never forget the day I took the chairlift to the “top” at Timberline Lodge. It was freezing cold, and the wind…I remember stepping off the chairlift and turning to adjust my goggles. For a moment I just stood there, I felt like I was on top of the world. I could see for miles.

…The plane has now began its descent, and my hand seems frozen against the window. Mt. Hood is no longer there. Just some lake, land, and some clouds.

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.”

Looking at mountains through the window of a plane can teach you a lot about how you view things. Its not about what you see, but in faith of what you cannot see.

I used to be afraid to fly, but now…my sight is changing, my heart is opening up, and the fear is melting.

As this flight comes to an end, we fly into a thick fog bank. Out the window, visibility is zero. You know the plane is preparing to land, you just don’t know when. You can’t see. For a brief moment you wonder…

Suddenly the fog gives way to pavement. The plane has SAFELY landed and I am left to ponder along with the catholic priest sitting across from me…

We may not always have blue skies to see our way through, but when God says, “He will”…all we can do is trust in faith that…”He will”.

Today, for you: In whatever mountain you may be facing, know this…”He will!”


I wrote this on a 37 minute flight from Portland, Oregon to Spokane, Washington several years ago.

The day before I stepped onto this plane, we had received a call from dad’s doctor stating that they believed my dad also had a brain tumor. As if the return of lung cancer was enough, this news would lead to single handedly taking dad out of the game for any hope of surviving. We would find this out days later.

It was in the midst of such uncertainty that I made that one day trip to Spokane for work.

What is one to do when being on the receiving end of such news? I mean, life needed to go on, right? I couldn’t just stop everything. But, this was different. This was family. This was dad.

How was I… or, we as a family going to make it through this season of unknowns? How would we scale this mountain that seemingly overnight rose up to confront us?

I didn’t want to get on that plane. Maybe later, but not then.

However, as I look back, I am glad I did if only for the perspective, hope, and increased faith it brought me.

We would find out a week later on the brink of treatment for this tumor that it was not a a tumor after all. It was a stroke.

In this, it was almost a matter of time. In this one piece of news, it changed everything. With this, and outside of a miracle… dad would not win this battle. At least before hearing this, we had that little glimmer of hope that kept the fire burning, albeit a small flame, bright inside.

The hope was to attack both brain tumor as well as the cancer in dads lungs, which by now had began to spread. But, with the stroke, it zapped any strength left that would have been needed to muster to fight this battle now raging war on his physical body.

With this news, my hope was transported from the physical… to the spiritual.

You see, in the face of death, you cannot escape this. For in its embrace can be found a bridge of peace over troubled waters that cannot be described but by the very One who awaits you on the other side.

And in this embrace, you too will understand that when He says He will… He will.


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