The Joy of Flight

“What if I decide that my airplane doesn’t need a vertical tail?”

Bill Knott
The Joy of Flight

The preacher shaped the long, elegant paper airplane before our eyes with deft, long-practiced moves. He had done this many times before. It rested lightly on his hand as he prepared to launch it over our heads into the meeting hall.

“This is how a paper airplane flies when you follow the rules of flight design,” he smiled. And then with one quick flick of his wrist, the white bird floated out over our heads, finding unseen currents of air in our chapel sanctuary. Five seconds, 10 seconds, 15—it soared like none I had ever made until it settled lightly on a student’s head.

Once the mirth had died away, the preacher continued. “Now let’s see how this good design works if we alter it a bit.” Again, his hands quickly shaped another piece of paper.

“What if,” he asked, “I decide that my airplane doesn’t need a vertical tail?” He bent the tail of his design at a steep right angle. When he launched his second craft, it dropped heavily to the floor, not ten feet from his hand.

“And what if I decide it doesn’t need the right wing?” he wanted to know. Predictably, his paper airplane crashed again.

“Doesn’t it make more sense to consult the original designer of the human body about how it will best function?” he asked. Even a group of sleepy teenagers knew the answer to this question. “Yes—yes, it does.”

That simple moment, many years ago, gave all of us a graphic lesson about why God’s design for human health makes great and lasting sense. We simply perform better: we fly higher; we fly longer; we experience the natural exhilaration of functioning as we were made to function.

A kindly Father’s counsel for the health of our bodies is entirely consistent with His plan to save us by His grace. A heart of love launched both initiatives. The message of health and wholeness given in the Scriptures was illustrated by a Lord who lived among us, understanding our bent and broken lives, and healing our diseases. When we accept His grace—when we commit ourselves to letting Jesus save us from our pride and inclinations—we discover joys we never would have known. When we align ourselves with God’s original design, we fly as we were meant to fly, without the drag of self-induced conditions.

As you read and share the contents of this special Adventist World edition, allow the Lord who first designed the human body to lead you into greater health and wholeness. Grace saves us and it changes us as we commit ourselves to living by design.

Bill Knott