In March of 2009 I took a flight from Houston back to my home in Ohio. Seated next to me on the 3 ½ hour flight was a crass, fast-talking sport agent from Los Angeles headed to a UFC fight. Not long into the flight he began to share stories of his life-all revolving around alcohol, sex and million dollar deals-no doubt thinking he was impressing this midwestern girl with his “exciting” life. I’m sure he never imagined that as he was talking I was looking for my opportunity to talk about God.
Airplanes are one of my favorite places to share the Gospel with people. Something about uninterrupted time with a complete stranger that I’ll probably never see again emboldens me. I figure I have nothing to lose. If the conversation goes bad or weird I figure I’ll just read my magazine, put on my ipod and never see the person again. So as the guy mentioned another one of his drunken nights bailing out his clients from jail for fighting I seized my opportunity and mentioned that I had never been drunk-knowing full well that I’d get a reaction from him! He looked at me like I was an alien with three heads. He was shocked that I had never been drunk and asked me why. I told him I was a Christian and I try to live my life according to the Bible and while the Bible doesn’t say that drinking is wrong, it does say not to get drunk. This opened the door for several hour chat about God. He asked me why God allows suffering and other deep questions. I answered the best way I could and gave him web sites to check out for more info. He asked me if I really believed that God knew and planned everything that was going to happen before it occurred. I said yes, why do you think you’re sitting next to me for 3 hours?! We both laughed and I remembered back to how I first came in contact with God.
I grew up going to Catholic church as a young child and around age 9 we changed to a Methodist church. I always believed in God and prayed but never really grasped what it meant to be born again. By high school I stopped going to church and was far more interested in living life my way and keeping up with whatever my friends were doing. My friends weren’t always making the best choices and thankfully God intervened in my life before I made too many mistakes.
The summer after I turned 16 my best friend went to a Christian music festival where she accepted Christ. She came back a completely different person, which definitely got my attention. A couple days after she got back I left to go on vacation with her and her family for 3 weeks-definitely something God timed perfectly! We drove to California from Ohio (yes totally crazy!). It was 42 hours one way! Needless to say we had lots of time to talk and just like the guy stuck next to me on the airplane, I was stuck next to a new Christian who was eager to share her faith. Somewhere on the trip we stopped at a Christian bookstore and I bought a student study Bible. God was beginning to change my heart and I was eager to read His word. I hung on every verse, so excited to finally have answers to questions I didn’t even realize I had. The day after we returned from our trip in the early morning of July 17, 1999, alone in my bedroom I accepted Christ as my Savior. I understood that I was a sinner (Romans 3:23) and on my own merit would never be able to got to Heaven. I understood Jesus was God’s Son, lived a sinless life and died on the cross for my sins. 3 days later He rose from the dead conquering sin and death (John 3:16). I understood that accepting Jesus as my Savior and asking forgiveness for my sins and turning from those sins and allowing Him to rule and reign in my life was the only way for me to go to Heaven (2 Corinthians 4:18, John 14:6). I also knew that I would never be the same again- I was a new creation in Christ. Revelation 21:5a (NKJV) “Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”As I think back to the guy on the flight next to me, I pray for him that he makes a choice to give his life over to Christ. Our conversation didn’t bring about a conversion or even a hint of belief but I know I planted a seed and that’s the most any of us can do. Life is so quick-the blink of an eye-as believers we have a chance to affect the eternal destination of people by sharing the gospel with them. Who is your life doesn’t know Jesus? Maybe a co-worker, family member, friend or neighbor? Make it a priority to pray for them and share the Gospel with them. You may only get one shot.