Flying the meatball to find the sweet spot of God

One of the most demanding skills around involves landing a high powered jet on the deck of an aircraft carrier. With only 500 feet of landing space on a surface that often heaves on the sea, it is a very dangerous activity.

There are all kinds of support systems, including approach guidance systems, flight deck communications and a triple arrestor system that is used to snag the plane’s arrestor hook and bring it to a safe, albeit quick stop.

One of the systems used is the long range line-up system or Lens, which uses a number of green, orange and red Fresnel lights supported by a gyroscopically stabilised platform. If a jet has the right angle of approach, the pilot will see what is called, “The meatball” – the amber lights in line with a row of green lights. If coming in too high, the green lights will be above the orange lights. Too low and the pilot will see red light.

Thus, a final approach is generally dubbed as “flying the meatball”.

In one of my books I describe how a spacecraft returning from space also faces the challenge of an ideal glide slope. If it comes in too steep it will burn out, but if comes in too shallow it will bounce back into the abyss of space.

That is analogous of what I call the sweet spot of God. Spiritual immaturity is often too steep, full of unguided enthusiasm and energy that burns out quite quickly. We have all faced such reality checks, where our presumptions clatter into the immoveable presence of a great father. The resulting comeuppance is vital to adjusting our boundaries and our approach, the way that a child’s stumbles and falls slowly lend to skilfulness.

Sadly, many then pull back so much that they have little or no commitment. They then bounce out – ending up in a meaningless orbit that forever skirts a deeper walk with God, resulting in many regrets over “what might have been”.

The same model applies to our spiritual meatball. Too many come at their life issues, challenges and decisions with an angle of attack that predicts a serious crash. We don’t inquire of God or stand still to hear His voice, resulting in serious navigational flaws that must eventually fail us. But others are so cautious in their approach that they run out fuel and stamina long before they can ever land.

F B Meyer was on the deck of ship in a stormy sea and inquired how the crew could know when their harbour approach was safe. The captain pointed to a row of three red lights and said, “When we can see all three lights, we are on target”.

That brings me to the rub – if you want to find the sweet spot of God, get your lights properly lined up. Ensure that your decisions are based on the circumstantial leading of God, confirmed by scripture and sealed by His inner voice. Don’t pull back when He does lead you into a new challenge, else you will regret the consequences and bounce away from God-given opportunities, but don’t be rash and impulsive either or you will burn out and blow your chances.

(c) Peter Eleazar @

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