In 1945 Paul Tibbets carried a nation’s hopes on his shoulders and the power to end World War II in the belly of his plane. Tibbets flew the Enola Gay above the Japanese city of Hiroshima. He dropped the first atomic bomb. For just a moment, I want to ask you to set aside personal judgments about that event and think about Tibbets and his mission. Put yourself in his shoes. Would you be afraid? Bob Green interviewed Tibbets for his book, Duty: A Father, His Son, And The Man Who Won The War. When asked about fear, Tibbets said:
“Being cautious isn’t the same as being afraid. It’s just good sense. To me, fear paralyzes your mind. If you’re afraid, you can’t think straight. Literally—your thoughts become all confused if you’re afraid. Do you think I could have flown those B-17 missions to Europe if I had allowed myself to be afraid? With all the decisions a man has got to make on missions like those? I don’t care how old you are—being afraid can do nothing but cause you problems. I want to be able to think—I don’t want to be a prisoner of some sort of fear. You’ve got a better chance to think your way out of a situation than to get out of it based on some kind of fear you’re feeling.”
Whether flying a B-17 mission in Europe or traveling on a Boeing 757 today, Tibbets' words hold true: “fear paralyzes your mind.” That is why in the face of uncertainty and tragedy the believer must remember Who is ultimately “piloting the plane.” Jesus said:
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no on can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30 NIV)
"The Man" who won the war has a message for those in the heat of battle: You are in good hands! Don’t miss his picture. It is divine double protection. Life is uncertain. The economy is uncertain. Your health is uncertain. But the grip of Jesus on you is very certain! Nothing can pull you loose from His hands.