“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NLT
During an interview on "Larry King Live" in 2006, former President George H.W. Bush, who had flown combat missions in World War II, recited a section of a letter he had written to his five children prior to the Gulf War. In the letter, he discussed the phrase.
“CAVU was the kind of weather we Navy pilots wanted when we were to fly off our carrier in the Pacific,” he said. “We had little navigational instrumentation, so we wanted to CAVU, ceiling, and visibility unlimited, and because of the five of you whose hugs I can still feel, whose own lives made me so proud, I can confidently tell my guardian angel that my life is CAVU and it will be that way until I die. All because of you” (Bush 2006).
President George Herbert Walker Bush died on November 30, 2018. His funeral was held on December 5, 2018. When he was in office, as is the case with many elected officials, I wasn’t always a fan. However, I felt compelled to watch President Bush’s service. It felt like an epic moment in history. Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada, gave one of the many eulogies. Former Prime Minister Mulroney told stories of President Bush’s humanity. He told one story about spending time with President Bush and his wife, Barbara. The President had recently installed a plaque at Walker’s Point, Kennebunkport, Maine. The plaque read CAVU.
During the eulogy, former Prime Minister Mulroney told us that CAVU was a flying term. CAVU is a term pilots want to hear. It’s an abbreviation for ceiling and visibility unlimited (and unrestricted). An operational term no longer formally defined in meteorology but still commonly used in aviation that designates a condition wherein the ceiling is more than 10,000 ft, and the visibility is more than 10 miles (AMS 2022).
The phrase intrigued me. I knew there was a message in the phrase, yet I didn’t grasp its meaning well. I pondered the word off and on over the last five years. I asked God for a clear understanding. Over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, I flew to Texas. On the return flight, God gave me the perfect visual of CAVU. The sky was overcast when I arrived at the airport. I sat at the gate and watched the weather change from cold and dry to cold, wet, and windy. The rain initially started as a light mist. It moved into a steady downpour when I boarded my flight home. I prayed that my flight would not be delayed. God answered again.
My flight was not delayed. Fear raised its ugly head as the plane taxied away from the terminal. “What if we slide off the runway? What if we collide with another plan while taxiing? What if we . . .” The “what if” questions continued. The plane took off without any issues. We entered the clouds. The worry for my safety grew. I thought, “How can flying in a metal torpedo be safe?” My mind cried out, “Jesus!!” As I cried out, we broke through the clouds. The sun shone brightly. The gray clouds lay below us. The ceiling and visibility were unlimited!
I got my “Aha” moment. Trouble and suffering, like the rain I had just flown through, will come, but God always has the best in store for me.
As Christians, God does not promise us an easy life. He commands us to be bold and courageous in Joshua 1:9. He promises He will be with us.
Fear does not need to consume us. If God has given you a vision for your life or if you are trying to figure out your calling, then you will face some challenging places. Fulfilling a vision from God requires bold faith. In this season, commit to dreaming bigger and bolder––trusting that God is with you.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage to have bold faith. When I face trials and doubts, remind me You are with me. Let me feel Your Presence. Imprint the revelation that my ceiling and visibility are unlimited in my heart. Amen.
Your turn: Is there an area of your life where you need to have bold faith in God? Will you choose to trust that God will be with you?