In January 2012, ABC News correspondent, Katie Kindelan reported on a perfectly pleasant flight that turned into a nightmare by a thoughtless flight crew.
On British Airways Flight 206, about 3AM, passengers awakened abruptly to a taped emergency message blaring: “This is an emergency. We will shortly be making an emergency landing on water!” The cabin went into an absolute panic. Passengers began crying and screaming, convinced their end approached.
But the message was completely false. The plane was cruising safely at 35,000 feet – on course and on time from Miami to London. The crew had accidentally activated a taped emergency recording and had no small task calming passengers down and assuring them that everything was alright. Spokesmen for British Airways were also waiting at Heathrow Airport to distribute letters of apology to their angry customers when the plane landed.
This wasn’t the first time the airline had frightened people unnecessarily. In August 2010, 275 passengers on board a British Airways flight faced terror when another such “emergency landing on water” message played. The message proved to be totally in error.[i]
You know, we experience a bombardment of false alarms every day. I’d like to blame it all on the news networks and media – which tend to put a negative spin on even the most positive news.
But they are not the only tricksters that scare the daylights out of us. Sadly, many religious leaders, who act as self-appointed “watch dogs,” are spending a little too much time troubling the hearts God’s people. Every day I get an email-box full of “scare grams” that point me to every negative aspect of our President, our government, our Nation, our military, our economy, our environment, and our future.
They would have done better pointing me to the One who holds the fate of this world in the palm of His almighty and all-loving hands. Jesus told us, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many places to dwell. … I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. … Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. … In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 14:1-3, 27; 16:33).
I once read that there are nearly 300 commands in Scripture not to be afraid. When God repeats something so many times it must be for a very good reason. Could it be that the vast majority of alarms we hear are just as false as those which needlessly terrorized those innocent passengers?
God has not called His servants to be prophets of doom or to merely echo everything we hear on the news. God calls us to bear His message of hope and to point each other to the One who loves us unconditionally and eternally.
Dear Father in heaven, I know full well that I live on a troubled planet and that none of us is exempt from adversity, pain, or death. But this does not mean that I must live in fear, for You promise me peace in the midst of tribulation. As I trust in Your love and faithfulness, please still the tempest that rages within me and flood my heart with your peace. Amen.
[i] (Information from http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/17/travel/british-airways-recording/index.html)