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By Matthew Whittle
One of the easiest things to take for granted living in Goldsboro is Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Not its economic impact or the great people it brings to our community. But the sheer awesomeness of what those men and women do every day.
Many of us who moved to Goldsboro as adults remember being awed the first time we saw that F15-E fly over McCall’s and Wilber’s. Some of us may even still wrench our necks to watch those Strike Eagles coming in low preparing to land.
Still, other than those occasions when we’re heading down U.S. 70, it’s easy to forget about the sheer power sitting just minutes away from us.
But when we walked onto that flight line for Wings Over Wayne with our two boys and they saw all the helicopters and jets lined up, their jaws went slack and their breath was taken away. They could not believe the enormity – of the base, of the flight line, of the planes themselves.
Then as we sat and watched the maneuvers and heard – and felt – the roaring scream of the engines, those boys were awestruck. To be honest, so were my wife and I.
Watching my oldest son’s reaction was particularly interesting. I had never realized that he had no concept of just how big these planes are. He had no way to know. During his eight years, he’d only seen planes up in the sky or on TV. He’d never stood beside one. It took that in-person experience to grasp what, to me, seemed fairly intuitive – jets are huge and powerful.
And as I write this, it strikes me that this is sort of how many of us experience God.
Just as I know I’m not the only person in Goldsboro who often doesn’t think twice about the power sitting behind the fence surrounding Seymour Johnson, I also know I’m not the only person who sometimes take God’s power for granted. Sure, we’re reminded of it from time to time – when we see a beautiful sunset, hear a powerful sermon or sing a moving hymn. But just like the jets flying over the highway, those are fleeting moments. Unless we make a conscious effort, it’s easy to forget about how His power and majesty surround us every day.
I’m also reminded how just like my son could not comprehend the size and power of those jets until he stood next to them, so, too, can we not possibly understand God’s power until we get close to it.
Watching the jets maneuver high in the sky, to me, is like sitting in great worship service or admiring a sunrise over the ocean. We can feel God’s presence. We can see His great works. But until we put them in context – until we get up close and personal with His Word and talk to Him – we can’t fully appreciate His power and majesty.
“Who created the stars you see? The one who leads them out like an army, He knows how many there are and calls each one by name! His power is so great – not one of them is ever missing.” – Isaiah 40:26 (GNT)