A couple days ago I flew 20 minutes from Nampa, ID to Ontario, OR. I was flying to practice instrument approaches—procedures that guide aircraft to a landing in bad weather. I climbed to 6,500 feet in the clear morning air. Cruising up there gave me a few minutes to review the procedure one more time before committing to follow the official course. Then I descended to 5,000 feet and crossed a radio navigation intersection to begin my first approach. Modern avionics make instrument approaches much simpler than they used to be. However, as any musician will confirm, recent practice is crucial to good performance. After a couple times around the airport, I headed back to Nampa.
During the flight home the Owyhee mountains ran 15 miles southwest of my course, to my right. The Boise mountains paralleled them 20 miles on the northeast, to my left. Stretched between them, lay a 35-mile-wide swath the Indians called, “the Sagebrush Plain.” Before farmers and engineers brought irrigation, the land was all desert. Even today, miles of brown, summer-baked, dry rolling hills dominate. I imagined the rigors early settlers faced traversing the same valley I now passed over so easily in my swift aluminum bird.
Then I noticed. Scattered green patches punctuated the dreary desert. Some were towns, others only isolated ranches. But they all offered crucial relief—water, food, and shade. On the ground those places might remain hidden and unfound. From my pilot’s perch, however, I spotted them easily. Reminded me: when the eyes of my heart are opened by faith, I can easily spot the outposts of hope the Lord has laid out all across this life’s convoluted landscape. My challenge? I can choose to look from the right perspective. MAF’s opportunity? We can serve as purveyors of hope.