If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you’ve certainly heard the famous “be anxious for nothing” verse from Philippians 4 quoted in times of trouble or distress.
When I fall back on it, it’s generally over mental angst about first-world problems ranging from a broken nail to the thought of losing a steady job.
But Southwest airlines pilot Tammie Jo Shults took that anxiety-crushing mindset to a whole new level yesterday when her nerves of steel landed 143 passengers (and 5 crew members) to safety after one of her engines blew.
The 56-year-old tapped into her Navy fighter pilot skills when her Boeing 737-700 went into crisis mode at 32,000 feet.
“So we have a part of the aircraft missing so we’re going to need to slow down a bit,” Shults alerted a controller (with the same ease with which one would alert the McDonald’s drive-thru cashier that ‘the cheese is missing on my quarter pounder’ ). Ya know, just an engine explosion. No big deal.
To say she pulled this off with the “peace that passes understanding” would be an understatement.
With her first taste of flying being touching down F-18 fighter jets at 150mph, perhaps Shults’ unwavering courage in the face of death should come as no surprise… but it turns out, her supernatural poise comes from a much deeper place: Jesus.
The Christian mother of two says her role in the pilot’s seat has given her “the opportunity to witness for Christ on almost every flight.”
And never did her unshakeable faith shine more brightly than yesterday, when the Rock on which she stood showed up in mid-air, making her mission impossible appear like a breeze.
While one passenger tragically died in the incident, the remaining 143 passengers who saw their lives flash before their eyes at 30,000 feet are gushing with gratitude that the flight hero landed them unscathed in Philly.
— Kristopher Johnson (@EMMS_MrJohnson) April 17, 2018
“She has nerves of steel,” said passenger Alfred Tumlinson. “That lady, I applaud her. I’m going to send her a Christmas card — I’m going to tell you that — with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground. She was awesome. The lady, the crew, everything, everybody was immaculate. They were so professional in what they did to get us on the ground.”
Another passenger, Diana McBride Self, took to Facebook to praise Shults’ astounding act of bravery executed with the utmost grace.
Alfred & I were on this flight along with 5 other Texas Farm Bureau Agents & spouses.
There are no words to explain…
“Her grace and knowledge under pressure were remarkable,” said Self. “She came through the plane personally to check on us after she landed our crippled airplane… We were truly all in amazing hands.”
Interestingly enough, Shults almost never got the chance to become a pilot, as she was reportedly rejected at aviation career day in high school for being a girl. The persistent aspiring aviator was denied a test by the Air Force, but thankfully the Navy snatched her up, and she became one of the very first female fighter pilots to fly F-18s.
Many attribute Shults’ miracle landing to divine intervention — and by the sound of her backstory, it seems as though nothing else could explain this unlikely chain of events. God had her in that specific pilot’s seat for a reason.
Bourman was one of many passengers who credited Shults’ courageous act to the hand of God.
“God sent his angels to watch over us,” she said.
Listen to Shults’ unshakeable calm in the midst of grave danger below, and you won’t doubt there are ‘angels among us’ ONE bit: