Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Is God your co-pilot?

Is God Your Co-pilot?


You may have seen the classic bumper sticker announcing, “God is my co-pilot!” When it comes to bumper sticker theology, that doesn’t sound half bad, does it?

But bumper sticker theology is not always reliable.

If I’m honest, “God is my co-pilot” fits my natural desires. After all, a co-pilot does not act independently. The co-pilot takes direction from the captain, assisting as the captain requests. The captain calls the shots. While that may sound good, I can tell you from personal experience that when I’ve tried that relationship with my heavenly Father, it never works.

So I wonder where I ever got the idea that God is my co-pilot. Nothing in the Bible says or even implies that God takes direction from me. Again and again, God describes Himself in the Bible as our Guide:

  • Psalm 37:23 (NIV) – “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
  • Romans 8:14 (NIV) – “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”

God is not my co-pilot. He is my Pilot—my Captain. The journey has been turbulent at times, but He is always in control.

Allow me to share a story I heard . . .

A man boarded a packed plane for his return trip home. He was a bit nervous because weather reports had predicted violent storms. Sure enough, about halfway through the flight, the pilot turned on the seatbelt sign and announced the termination of food service due to increasing turbulence. As the man scanned the faces of his fellow passengers, he could see his own fears reflected in their faces—all except for one little girl. She sat quietly, seemingly engrossed in reading a book. The man couldn’t take his eyes off her, despite the sensation of riding a rollercoaster.

At the end of what felt like an interminable flight, the plane finally landed. While most of the passengers rushed to grab their carry-ons and exit, the little girl closed her book and quietly began to gather her things. The man couldn’t disembark without talking to her. “You must have really enjoyed your book, since you didn’t seem bothered by the turbulence.”

She shrugged. “It was okay—nothing special.”

“Just okay? How were you able to ignore the rough ride we had? Weren’t you scared?”

The little girl shrugged again. “Well, when we left the hotel this morning, my dad said we’d be home by dinner time. I wasn’t worried. You see, my dad’s the pilot. And he always keeps his word.”

Like the little girl in the story, I don’t want God to be my co-pilot. I want—no, I need—Him to guide and direct. To pick me up when I fall. And to straighten my crooked paths. He promised to do that . . . and He always keeps His Word.

What are your thoughts?

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  1. Nancy Elizabeth Head

    I love this message, Ava. God is indeed our pilot.

    I see myself as the man in this story–the way I see my dog sometimes. She is so alarmed and worried about so many things that aren’t reasons to worry. How many times do I do exactly that?

    Thanks and God bless!

  2. trecia phillips

    This is so true and encouraging! Thank you!

  3. Gail

    Ava, so true!! I know God is in control and has the best for me. Unfortunately my mind wonders off with all kinds of solutions and plans right in the middle of talking with God about it, then I have to reel myself back in to listening to God. I would love to have the complete peace of mind that that little girl had.

  4. Karen Friday

    Ava, sweet and powerful story from the little girl. And your biblibal examples point to truth that God is indeed our captain and pilot in this life.

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