“The point of no return is the point beyond which one must continue on one’s current course of action because turning back is physically impossible, prohibitively expensive, or dangerous.”
The phrase originated as an air navigation term to refer to that point on a flight where fuel considerations do not allow the airplane to return to the airfield from which it departed.
Another similar aeronautical expression is “Refusal Speed” used in takeoffs from a runway. It is the speed at which the aircraft can no longer safely stop the takeoff due to the length of the runway, and must commit to the takeoff regardless of the circumstances. Pilots get in trouble when they decide to abort a takeoff after reaching Refusal Speed. They usually end up off the end of the runway with a damaged airplane- hopefully not crushed and on fire.
We often find ourselves considering the point of no return in business decisions, in relationships, and in our walk with God.
Today I ran from the Rio Coco Café out to the beach on the east side of Utila, about a mile away. I decided to press on to the woods to the north. There is a circular four-mile route that eventually ends up by the airport, where the road returns to the harbor, and if I head south at the city dock, I end up at the Rio Coco Café.
As I entered the woods, I realized that our house was I closer ahead of me, than behind me. Coming out of the woods the road has an uphill grade, but home was in front of me, not behind. No way was I turning back.
In my marriage, I have long passed the point of no return. I am committed and have invested years working things out with my Japanese-local-island-girl wife. There have been some rough spots where others might have decided to turn back. But we passed the point of no return a long time ago.
I have ministry relationships that have had a point of no return. My Miskito brother Truman Cunningham, whom I worked with for 32 years, was one of those relationships that I could have walked away from many times to do other good things- like pastor a church on Maui. I’m glad I didn’t, because there now is much long cultivated fruit that we are enjoying on the Rio Coco, in the Rio Coco Café ministry here on Utila and in Vero Beach, and from our study tours in Israel, Greece, Turkey, and Italy with Dr. Randy Smith. It has all been connected and part of my trip with God.
Many of us have had an experience with God. He became real in our lives. We began a “walk” with Him and now are on a “journey”. Indeed, probably the best translation for the Great Commission (“Go into all the world and make disciples…) begins with understanding the word poreuomai: to go, to proceed on a journey.
Where on this journey is the point of no return? When do we stop going in the direction God is taking us? When do we realize we are committed to the flight, wherever it leads us?
I have watched my Christian brothers and sisters wrestle with this. After their experience with God, they are enthusiastic! God is doing much in their lives. Amazing things are happening. They are off the ground and God has them flying on a mission in a specific direction.
Then they notice that oil pressure gauge fluctuate. They see the needle on the fuel gage dropping. They look ahead and notice dark clouds. Fear strikes! Maybe we have engine problems! Maybe we don’t have enough fuel to make it! Maybe there are storms ahead! Let’s be real. We have all been there!
The Big Question: Did the Airwing Commander (The Lord) assign this flight to you? We start to waver in our conviction of our calling. We start to look for alternate landing fields after realizing we are past the point of no return.
Or we press on, knowing that if God said it, it will be.
I recently watch one person at this point. The decision was made to bail out of the plane! What a lost opportunity!
I think the most miserable people I know are those who have turned back after passing the point of no return in their relationship with God. Their double mindedness creates anxiety and instability in their life. They are robbed of the joy of seeing God do amazing things, and they have confined themselves to a world of limited expectations. Things that God had assigned them to do maybe will be done by others. People that they were to lead out of the darkness and into the light through their service, love, and words, remain in the dark. Lessons that God wanted to teach will remain in the air. Changes God had planned for them through the flight experience will not be realized. Even though regret will dog them, at the end of their days, a loving Heavenly Father will show them the video replay of their lives, and welcome them into His eternal presence, in spite of their fumbles and missed opportunities. I have found myself facing that kind of replay. I cringe at seeing my fumbles!
On the other hand, you have someone like the hairdresser from Honolulu, Laura Uyeda, who had never been camping before meeting me, who literally accepted a flight to the most remote corner of Central America, to live in a house with no running water, toilet, or electricity, and plenty of bugs, bats, and snakes. (This is why we rarely voluntarily go on camping trips in the United States.) She literally threw up on most of these flights, yet proceeded on, because God told her this was her assignment. As a result, there has been so many amazing things that Laura has experienced!
Her overriding concern has always been not missing God’s Best for her, even if it cost her comfort, isolation from family, abandoning professional goals, not living in the most beautiful place on Earth (Hawaii), and enduring me.
But the fruit in her life is so abundant! We all experience it!
God wants to give us our personal adventure with Him. It is by definition “a risky undertaking”, but ultimately “a remarkable experience”. It’s all about ignoring the fears, those twitching gauges and dark clouds ahead, and flying with faith that God has called you and will get you through. And in the meantime, you will have a truly amazing life experience that exceeds all your expectations! That what the Christian life is meant to be. But we must be willing to go past The Point of No Return.
Truman Cunningham left us via a heart attack one year ago. Prior to his departure he had many moments to spend with his grown children who took turns taking care of him while Mirna got medical treatment in Managua. Mirna was being taken care of by a couple of their adult children as well.
As life would have it, these moments that were spent was a prelude to his departure and many things were talked about, expressed and accomplished.
Sharon Cunningham, the last of Truman and Mirna’s children, was the one to call us last year with the dreadful news while we were here on Utila. There was a hurricane passing and no one could leave or come unto the island. The storm raged in more ways than one and we were in utter shock in the midst of it all. As God would have it, we prayed, waited and prayed.
In September, we had a chance to visit our Miskito family as they grieved the loss of husband, father, leader, friend, and world changer. Little did we know that God was brewing a plan to extend Truman’s life through one of his children, his last child, Sharon.
Sharon had been working for the government in Managua for a Miskito political leader. She no longer had that job so she was a key person in taking care of the affairs of her father when he was alive and then when he passed, she was there to take care of her mom. Now she is here with us on Utila seeing what God has for her in our midst on our team…willing, able and growing in her faith. We would like to have her function as one of our team mates.
It is a dream that Truman and I shared regarding his children. We have had three of his children already working with us and now this will be number 4 out of 8. We pray Sharon will follow on her dad’s footsteps and become a great spiritual influencer of many. She possesses many of her dad’s traits which has been a great comfort in this grieving process for Michael and I.
We continue to pray about the provision for Sharon and her family. Many medical needs are mounting for our aging teachers and we would appreciate any help we can get to a0ssist them. Please pray with us.
May 5 to 16, 2018 $2989
It’s been 10 years since our last study tour to Israel with Dr. Randy Smith, and many of you have asked us when we are going again.
Understanding the Bible in its historical and cultural setting so enriches your study and understanding of God’s Word. Standing in the same airspace and following the footsteps of Biblical people makes a connection to the Bible that can only happen in The Land.
We will begin at the coast and travel north to Galilee, spending our days in Biblical places. Heading south along the Jordan River, we will spent the next portion around the Dead Sea and Negev Desert. Finally we will go up to Jerusalem, where the drama of the Gospels unfold.
We have done this study six times, and it still opens doors of understanding and inspiration. We will have fun, delicious local food, breathtaking panoramas, and inspirational teaching from one of the very best experts on Biblical culture.
Much of the scope of our studies can be found in our books co-authored with Dr. Smith: Echoes Into Eternity, Living in the Spiritual World, and the Vision Behind the Verses, all available on Amazon.com.
Please contact us or seekthelamb.com for all the info and registration forms.
How Can You Help This Month?
1) Support a Seek The Lamb volunteer in the café and school project.
2) Pray for us!
3) Purchase Rio Coco Beans coffee.
You may or donate at seekthelamb.com—”Give”. Thanks!
1) Open hearts and opportunities to share at the Utila Café .
2) Provide more workers for the Café ministry team.
We appreciate your prayers. They Change Everything!
You can have our delicious coffee delivered to your home or office. Each purchase helps us fund the school project in Nicaragua. Drink Up!
Thanks for spending time with us.
Aloha until next month!
Seek The Lamb
P.O. Box 2151
Vero Beach FL 32961