An open door at 37,000 feet could be catastrophic–or it could be an amazing opportunity to glorify God! As a traveling Christian musician, I work for Jesus from the road. I visit churches to lead worship, sing for conferences, and present concerts of praise and inspiration. Though I mostly get where I need to go by car, I have the privilege of flying a few times a year, which is always a unique adventure. God is constantly surprising me with the people I meet, the conversations that happen, and the doors He opens.
Sometimes my listening audiences are intimate; sometimes large; sometimes willing; and sometimes just plain unsuspecting. The folks on Southwest flight #2293 were the latter. Boarding the plane that cool Wisconsin morning with my guitar in hand, I received the standard smiles, the few typical expressions of concern–possibly inner hopes that my guitar would not have to find its way into their overhead bin; and the usual off-handed question, “So, are you ‘gonna play for us?”
I’ve been asked that question on every flight I’ve taken the last 15 years, and my response has always been the same: “I’d be happy to!” No one ever took me up on it until flight #2293. The Denver flight crew was on duty that day and happened to be music appreciators who thought it would be a nice treat for the passengers to have some live music. At this point, they hadn’t even heard me sing and didn’t know whether I could carry a tune or play a lick of guitar. Still they let me have the microphone as we were flying over Kansas at 37,000 feet.
I admit I was nervous. This audience was captive–literally. But God opened the door, so I was going to “sing” through it! God Bless America was my first choice–a Christian tribute to our military. After a nice applause, they allowed me another and I chose the familiar hymn How Great Thou Art, which acknowledges and praises the One who created the very skies we were flying through. The steward, Tyler, thanked me and announced my website to the cabin. On the walk back to my seat, many people complimented, thanked me for singing a Christian song, had a brief conversation about what I do, took a business card, or checked out my website! Seriously, there were message postings and comments on social media before we even landed in Phoenix!
The stewardess Carrie was recording me on her phone and posted a video on Southwest later that day. Of the two songs I sang, she happened to record How Great Thou Art–just a little more glory for God!
No, the video did not go viral. It did however serve the purpose God intended for it, and that song sung boldly to a cabin of strangers, moved hearts, and bolstered the faith and courage of many who heard it and shared it.
And the funny thing? The lady I sat next to on my return flight four days later had also been on flight #2293, heard me sing, and was interested in hearing more about being bold for Jesus in her marriage to an unbeliever and raising her two boys in faith. I think we filled much of that 3 hour flight home with spiritual conversation.
The Apostle Paul says: “always be prepared to give an answer for the reason for the hope that you have.” I’m staying prepared, and I’ll be continually vocal–ready to speak and sing for His glory through those open doors. Bring it on!
Wendy Sue Fluegge