"One of the near-death experience truths is that each person integrates their near-death experience into their own pre-existing belief system." - Jody Long
I'm not really sure you would call the whole emergency landing situation on my flight home from Oklahoma City a "near-death experience" because that would be a little too dramatic, but roll with me here. In Part 1 of this series, I told you about my running Remember The Ten. In Part 2, I cracked a few jokes (I think that I'm quite funny...) and told the story of my plane making an emergency landing. Today, I wanted to write a more serious post about my thoughts on this. After a little time to reflect, I think that I can sum it up in three thoughts.
God gives us what we need when we need it.
If you had told me a month ago that I would be on a flight that had engine trouble and made an emergency landing ona runway surrounded by fire trucks and ambulances, I would have told you without question that I would have flipped out and either been having a screaming fit or passed out from fear. No question. Yet when this actually happened, I was completely calm. Of course it was a little scary, but there was no panicing, no fits, and no fainting. The only way to explain this is that God gives us what we need when we need it. For me, that was a sense of calm amidst the storm.
This is a great example of God giving us what we need when we need it, and not before. Until last Sunday, I had not really seen this in action in my own life. I did not need the mental strength to keep from freaking out during a crisis until I was in the crisis. When the time was right, God gave me what I needed. God gives us what we need when we need it--isn't that true about so much more than calm and strength? I for one know that I can always use this little reminder.
How quickly we forget.
I have to say that 99.9% of the people on that plane were great. Everyone remained calm, was patient, kind, and seemed genuinely able to deal with being stuck in the worst airport in the world for 4 hours. I figure that everyone knew that it was so much better than the alternative, which became quite the possible reality when we saw all of the emergency personnel on the runway. But, as there always seems to be, there was the one lady..... I swear, all she could do was gripe and complain about how she was already supposed to be in Vegas and she was missing some show and she needed a cigarette and she could not beleive they had to fly another plane in to pick us up. On and on and on. It was all I could do to keep myself from having a real Come to Jesus talk with this chick.
Again on the topics of wondering Israelites (clearly I paid attention that day at Bible Study!), I've written a prior blog called How Quickly We Forget. The Israelites had seen God's miracles--remember the whole parting of the Red Sea thing--with their own eyes. But years of being out in the desert took a toll, and they forgot the miracles and focused on their own problems. Las Vegas lady took the same approach--albiet she forgot after about an hour, not years. As she was having her fit, all I could think of was, "Lady, do you not remember an hour ago when a runway full of ambulances was there to take us to the hospital if things went bad? And an army full of fire trucks was there if things went even worse? Do you really want to complain about not being at some stupid casino on time?" I know that it's easy to do, and it's human nature, but I truly pray that I can keep from being a person who so quickly forgets.
We never know when our time may come.
I'm not going to tell you that I had one of those "life flashes before your eyes" moments. And I didn't like get on the phone and profess my love to someone or sell everything I own and move to a beach somewhere. But I was reminded that we never know when our time may come. In light of this, we have to remember to say what we need to say, do what we want to do and live our lives while we have a chance. Life is too short to live otherwise. I snapped a quick photo of the plane with the busted engine as we pulled away from the runway as a little reminder of that.
Maybe it can serve as one to you as well.
Maybe it can serve as one to you as well.