Bart Simon had every reason never to fly again. On Sunday, March 22, 1992, he boarded USAir Flight 405 and waited on the tarmac. The plane would be departing in the middle of a snowstorm; but after a half-hour delay, it had been cleared for takeoff.

As the plane raced down the runway, it lifted into the air. But something went terribly wrong. The left wing dipped and scraped against the runway. The plane’s landing gear struck a set of navigational lights, causing the aircraft to touch down on the slippery snow and mud beside the runway.

For a brief moment, the plane made another effort to ascend into the air; but this time the left wing hit antennas on the side of the runway, and the fuselage began to break apart. The plane eventually bounced into Flushing Bay, resulting in the deaths of 27 people.

Bart Simon survived this traumatic experience without injury. The very next day, he stepped aboard another plane and returned safely home. He could have given up flying altogether, and no one would have blamed him — one unsuccessful attempt would be enough to permanently ground most people. But Bart possessed the courage to fly again.

Every experienced soul-winner takes the same approach after facing rejection. Instead of getting discouraged or giving up when an unsaved person rejects the gospel, we must wield the courage to fly again after defeat and share the message with someone else. As we continue our efforts at outreach, we will gain encouragement when others embrace the truth.

The next time you share your faith, something may go terribly wrong. A cashier’s manager may suddenly come out and check on his or her progress in the middle of your conversation, abruptly cutting it short. The person you are witnessing to may be hostile to the gospel. Even if you have a rough first takeoff and your “flight” is grounded, take to the air again. You will never know the sweet feeling of a good flight until you take off.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.