Connections: Scripture & Air Travel
Every inspirational speaker loves a good story. People love to hear those stories. But have you ever been present when one of them unfolded? That happened last week!
Scripture: Do you remember the events of Acts 16? Paul and Silas were thrown into jail. After being beaten and their hands and feet placed in stocks, these two started singing and praising God. In response, God freed them with an earthquake. These events hold so many truths to learn and apply. I preached from this passage last Friday night in Barahona, Dominican Republic.
Air Travel: Saturday morning, our mission team departed Barahona about 6:45 for our trip to Santo Domingo. Once there, we were to catch our three hour flight to Atlanta, then home. Many teams have experienced this day of travel. It’s a long day, but it’s made easier because we are looking forward to seeing family and sleeping in our homes.
Due to some Delta Airlines mechanical issues, our flight never actually got off the ground. After six hours of being in limbo, we were taken to a hotel and told the plane would leave on Sunday. But the sacrifice happened before we went to the hotel.
Imagine the scene. Everyone thinks their plans are too important to change. It had been a long wait for everyone. Some people were very irate and taking that out on the Delta ground staff (it wasn’t their fault any more than it was ours!). Some looked very frustrated and others were loudly berating and cursing Delta personnel.
I had stayed on the plane for the whole 6 hour ordeal. The captain was getting real time updates and the flight crew was the only reliable source of info I had. They also spoke English! Most of the mission team had gotten off the plane and gathered in the terminal. Not long before the decision was made to scrub the flight, I walked out of the plane to speak to the gate agents. All the things I described above were happening around me.
It was in that scene that something odd began to happen. Through the emotions and fussing I heard something unexpected. It was soft at first. As the seconds passed, it grew louder and louder until it was impossible to ignore it. What was it? It was the sacrifice of praise. And yes, sometimes praise is a sacrifice. We must choose to honor God in spite of our circumstances, just like Paul and Silas did.
I turned to see our mission team all seated together to the right side of the gate. Someone had gotten a guitar out of its case and started playing a worship song. Our team members, one by one, had joined in singing. People not in our group joined the chorus. And it wasn’t long before the song was impossible to ignore.
I stopped my conversation with the gate agent and walked over to our team. I smiled at them as they and others were singing loudly. I referenced the sermon from the night before and encouraged them in what they were doing. As I walked back to the counter, I thought how the very atmosphere in the gate area had changed. It was the sweet sacrifice of praise that had filled the building like the fragrance of a flower garden.
The connections were made by the team. It’s one thing to learn the events on the pages of Scripture. It’s another to make the connections necessary to apply Scripture in the appropriate times and places to the lives we are called to live. It was easy to complain. It was a choice to praise God anyway. And that’s why Scripture calls it a sacrifice. We give the natural for the supernatural. THAT is a sacrifice of praise!
Soli Deo Gloria!