Riding in a turboprop doesn’t sound like my idea of an adventure. I’m the girl who doesn’t do roller coasters or carnival rides. I carry motion sickness pills whenever I fly. A turboprop sounds like a practical acronym for intentional tummy eruptions.
When I made reservations to fly a commuter airline from Burlington, Iowa to St. Louis, Missouri, I didn’t stop to think about what kind of plane I would take. I was just trying to honor my husband’s request to keep the price of my flight to see my mother under $350.
Moreover, I wasn’t able to reserve a calm, cloudless day for my travels. We awoke to cloudy skies and a line of thunderstorms draped across the mid-section of the country, heading straight toward my line of flight.
When we arrived at the airport at 6:30 in the morning, my trusty, dusty air-chariot graced the tarmac. “You get to ride a Turboprop,” my husband commented.
“This should be fun,” I smirked. Not. The last time I rode a turboprop, we intersected a massive cold front between New York and Ohio. Let’s just say I was too scared to be sick.
I was in for more surprises.
This turboprop had only eight seats. The moment I stepped up to the ticket counter, the clerk instructed me to step on a scale. The gate attendant calibrated our seat assignment to our body weight so the plane would stay balanced. That did a number on my nerves.
We boarded the plane. Yes, eight seats. One cabin. No captain’s cabin. No flight attendant. No package of peanuts. The captain turned to us, gave us the typical safety instructions, and then added. “It’s not bad here, but it may get bumpier the closer we get to St. Louis.”
As we taxied down the runway, I wondered what his definition of “not bad” was. We hadn’t even left the ground before the little plane started to shimmy and shake. As it disconnected from the ground, the plane dipped to one side. My mind accelerated into worry mode. Had we cleared enough ground so the wing wouldn’t crunch on the runway? I forgot to take my motion sickness pill. I don’t like unexpected tips and turns. What have I gotten myself into?
I started to sing.
Engine noise was so loud, no one could hear me. Not wanting others to see my mouth move, I turned my face to the window where I saw nothing but a sea of white. White-out conditions from a snowstorm could not have been any worse. And pilots relied on instruments to get them through the murky skies? My fiction-driven imagination ignited. What if another plane or a big buzzard suddenly materialized right in front of the front window? We’d have one second to say, “Oh my . . .” Crash!
I kept singing. I repeated memory verses. Funny how all the songs and verses I chose to sing had to do with trust. “You Are My Hiding Place.” “Unto Thee O Lord.” “Trust and Obey.” Psalm 143:8. I changed my repertoire. Best to sing a praise song. If the Israelites could praise God while going into battle, so could I. So I started to sing, “How Great Thou Art.”
Right before I reached the line, “I hear the rolling thunder,” a bright flash filled my peripheral vision. I stopped singing after the word rolling. That was lightning. We were in the midst of a thunderstorm. As if in response to my new found awareness, the plane listed to the side.
At that moment God got my attention with these thoughts:
- He created the thunder and the forerunning lightning.
- He made the wind. If he could create the wind and rain, he could maintain and control it too.
- Even though I or the pilots could see nothing through the fog of darkening clouds, God could. God’s radar was far more accurate than any on-board instrument panel. God could see what was out there and He could move it out of the way.
- If He chose not to, then that was His plan for my life or end of it.
- If He chose this moment to be my final one on earth, He could do amazing things with the events of my death that would bring Him glory and honor.
The words spoken by a fellow passenger, an older woman named Carol, in the waiting room at the Burlington airport, replayed in my brain as if summarizing my meandering thoughts: “I’m not concerned. God knows when it’s my time to go.”
Did I believe it or not?
Did I claim faith in Christ or didn’t I? My brain leap-frogged to the next logical conclusion. If God is in control, if God knows what is out there and is steering this little plane around the obstacles, and if I can’t do anything about the situation, I might as well sit back and enjoy the adventure.
So I did. And I lived to tell the rest of you about it.
Scary bumpy rides in turboprops during a thunderstorm aren’t so bad when you know and trust the One at the controls.
Tell us about a time you learned to enjoy the adventure.