What do you do when your life comes crashing down? For some it can be a financial crisis, a health burden or a trial at work or school, but for others like Brian Brown life can literally crash. Brown was a fire chief and captain for over 25 years and had seen his share of rescue operations. As a first responder, he thought that planning and being prepared would always be enough. Brown had taken his family on a plane trip when a drastic change in weather caused the plane to head straight into the mountain and crash in a canyon. Three years ago, we sat down with Brown and talked about what it was like when his family crashed in the airplane and how he is able to use his story as a platform to share his faith.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:1-4
Brown shares what it was like in the moments before they crashed, including the prayer that his wife, Jayann said.
“I think it was just before we went through the last cloud, Jayann said a prayer out loud… ‘God, this is a lot scarier than we thought, please put your angels on our wings and help us through this.’ She wasn’t really trying to [quote scripture] but if you read Psalm 91 it is almost word for word what she prayed. So yes, we crashed…but instead of going nose in, we actually hit a couple of tress and belly-flopped on the mountain going uphill. The trees had slowed us down enough to keep the plane intact. [Another miracle.] Jayann and I both hit the windshield and lost consciousness and the impact had ripped the door off of her side. According to Heather [she was in the rear seat] I was only out for a couple of seconds when I woke up, blood was oozing down my face, but my first thought was, ‘Wow! We’re still alive!’ I couldn’t believe it.”
“You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.” Psalm 91:5-8
Brown opens up about how his book, Rescued, enables him to share about the whole story and provides a platform to share his faith with groups.
“My sister is married to the editor at Harvest House Publishers. Shortly after we were back home, the TODAY show had come to interview me, and my sister was there listening to the interview. Her jaw just hit the floor and she said, ‘Oh my gosh, this story really needs to get out.’ She had encouraged me to take notes, [during the healing process] which I had already been doing, but for a totally different reason. I was gathering information for who I needed to thank. When the TODAY show had us on, their focus was on the cell phone ringing. The book allows me to tell the whole story. The response I often hear from people after reading it is ‘Wow!’ it really hits them about what happened. It is the story of what really slapped me in the face about where my relationship with God needed to be. I went to church Jayann once in a while, but I didn’t really spend time in prayer. Through this [experience] I kept seeing one miracle after another and I knew somebody was with us. People sometimes ask me about the title. Well it means a lot of different things. Yes, we were physically rescued off the side of a mountain, but in a lot of ways I was spiritually rescued…Locally, we spoke in front of our church. There are about 3,000 attendees in that congregation so we were about to touch on quite a few people. I spoke to the men’s prayer breakfast at that church. In addition to other churches, I’ve spoken to groups such as The Civil Air Patrol, a Chaplaincy Program and the Office of Emergency Services in the [San Francisco] Bay Area.”
Be prepared. God wants us to walk with Him daily, not just during our crisis or difficult times. What parts of your relationship with Him need to be strengthened prayer, reading the Bible, fellowship with other believers? Reflect on the joy and passion of when you first started walking with Christ and what areas of your life need to be reignited. Ask God to help strengthen your relationship with Him.
Turn to God during your crisis. Whatever crisis you are going through, God wants you to turn to Him. Cry out to Him if you need to. Take time this week to reflect on Psalm 91 and think about God being your strength and refuge. If you are having a hard time believing that God can help you during your time of trouble, turn to a trusted friend, small group leader or pastor to ask them to help you. We are not alone in this journey.
Share your story. Whether you have been rescued from a physical situation or a spiritual one, God wants to use your story to help others. Write down your story. Ask God to show you things or details that He wants you to highlight or share. Pray about a person or group of people that you can share it with. Consider practicing with a friend or small group member so that they can give you some feedback.
To read our entire interview with Brian Brown, click here.
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