October 14 should be a day of tremendous celebration for every single believer who lives a life of uncompromising faith, don’t you agree? Why, you may ask, would we want to mark that day as an anniversary of faith? Great question. On that day in 1947 U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager broke the sound barrier in the famous Bell X-1. Now you may wonder what airplanes and the sound barrier have to do with faith. Plenty. This small, but significant, event shows us how resistance is not futile and is crucial for uncompromising faith.
The sound barrier
When mankind first started to fly in the early part of the last century, pilots did not know a sound barrier existed. As planes developed more power and speed, pilots began to discover this mysterious barrier was a problem. They would describe such massive turbulence approaching 760 mph that they felt the plane might disintegrate. Many planes could not handle the stress and the pilots paid with their lives.
Thankfully, intrepid souls saw this resistance as a challenge. They began to build stronger planes that could handle the brutal turbulence. They added jet engines to make the planes go faster and faster. Brave pilots, not knowing if the turbulence ended or not, faced the sound barrier.
On October 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager strapped himself into the X-1 and was flown to altitude. His plane dropped and, at a safe distance, he turned on the jets. The little plane faced the violent turbulence head on. Shaken hard Chuck did not know if the plane would survive. Suddenly, as he passed 767 miles per hour, the buffeting stopped. The plane was still and flying fine. Capt. Yeager had broken through the sound barrier.
Here is a clear picture of the three stages planes travel through in flight.
Below the sound barrier flight is fine with a little resistance but nothing that will destroy a plane. When coming up to the sound barrier the resistance, turbulence and difficulty of flight increases. If the plane and pilot cannot handle the shaking, both will be destroyed. Finally, on the other side of the sound barrier flight stabilizes.
The walk of faith also comprises three distinct parts so when we compare faith to flight we can see the similarities.
Most people live in the first stage of faith. At this level the believer’s faith is weak and faces little resistance. Daily existence gives little acknowledgement to God and even less to trusting Him for our daily sustenance. There is little resistance because they are not resisting satan. In 1 John 2:13-14 John refers to these believers as ‘little children’.
The second stage believer is one who faith has grown to a point where satan begins actively to resist them. Believers, committed to following Jesus in complete obedience, are shaken to test their resolve. John refers to these believers as ‘young men’. Unfortunately, many who face the turbulence of satan turn back out of fear they may lose their lives.
Those that keep pressing through the enemy’s resistance find stability and peace in the third stage. They will have broken though the faith barrier, knowing experientially that the Jesus is with them. No longer does Jesus need to test their faith for they have proven to trust in Him with their very lives. John refers to these people as ‘fathers’ in 1 John 2:13-14.
The three stages of spiritual growth
We have seen the three stages of faith throughout our journey and in Scripture. This is such a prevalent theme that Wanda and I assembled this diagram.
Uncompromising faith is an exciting and scary journey into the unknown with God leading us.
As you grow in faith, the resistance of satan will test your resolve. This is normal and to be expected. We have to learn how to overcome satan’s resistance. God will never leave you as you walk with Him. Though the resistance may be brutal, you can make it to the other side if you don’t quit. Resistance is not futile. Chuck Yeager and pilots of today prove one can break the sound barrier. Abraham, Moses, David, Paul and other faithful believers prove it is possible to break the ‘faith barrier’. May we follow their example, resist the devil and break through to the other side.
Homer and Wanda