I am not a big fan of flying, but I had to fly this past weekend to go speak at an event in Canada. On my flight home, I noticed that when the flight attendant was going over the instructions for safety in the flight, nobody seemed to be paying attention. She was showing how to use the seat belt, where the emergency exits are located, how to use the oxygen masks, etc...but nobody seemed to care. Some were sleeping. Others were reading. Others were talking to the person next to them. But only a few people paid attention. I remember wondering if it bothered her that people didn't care what she was saying or doing. Apparently, they'd heard it all before, or maybe they just didn't think they needed to listen. Whatever it was, it was odd seeing a woman give so much to a presentation that nobody paid attention to.
Things changed a bit about an hour later when our plane hit some pretty big turbulence, though. All eyes were on the flight attendant! It's funny - whenever I'm on a plane and we hit turbulence, I immediately begin to pray and then search for the flight attendant. I mean, she or he has been there - they fly all the time and I can tell by looking at them if the turbulence is anything I need to worry about. Everyone else feels that way, too, apparently! Everyone was looking for her. She was up at the front, walking up the isle and asking if anyone needed anything. She was cool as a cucumber! This made me breathe a sigh of relief. If the flight attendant is calm, it's our cue that we can all be calm, too!
It's interesting how nobody cared what she had to say when we were safely on the ground, in our comfort zone. Things changed a lot though when things got bumpy about 30,000 feet up in the air! She was the most popular person on the plane at that point.
I wonder...are there people in your life who you've been sharing the Gospel with who don't seem to care or even pay attention? I'd venture to say that even though they may seem like they don't care at times, they do notice that you are a Christian. I'd also venture to say that when turbulence hits in their life, you might be the first person they look to for some stability and calm in the storm. When we say we are believers, we are in essence letting people know that we believe the Bible is true. We believe that there is purpose in our pain, and that God is in control. So, when the turbulence comes, people may look to us for wisdom and answers. Are we prepared for this?
In the book of 1 Peter, chapter 3, Peter tells us that we need to be ready with an answer when someone asks for the reason for our hope. And when we answer, we need to do this with gentleness and respect. Are you ready with an answer? Do you believe the Bible? Do you have life experiences where God's faithfulness has gotten you through and you would be willing to share that with those who may be going through the same challenge today?
I only ask these probing questions because I know how hurting people need hope and assurance that only Jesus Christ can bring. We have the answers they are desperately looking for in their lives. The answer is Jesus - and the fact that we know Him could mean that God may use us to be a vessel He uses to share His truth with those around us who might be in a panic over the turbulence in their lives.
I pray God will open our eyes to see the people around us the way He does. I pray He will give us opportunities to share His truth and His hope with others who may be in a very dark and hopeless place in their lives. I pray that when we do reach out to share hope with others, they will see Jesus in us - and that when they see Him, they will enjoy the peace that His presence always brings, even in the midst of turbulence.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10