It may have been the most unusual program we’ve ever aired on FamilyLife Today®. At various times during the interview, the guest stood sideways on the wall and upside down on the ceiling.
At one point, Dennis Rainey, co-host of the show, asked his guest, “Would you mind looking out your window and telling us what you’re seeing right now?”
“I believe that’s Australia going by,” was the reply.
The guest for this program, which aired on February 6, was Captain Barry “Butch” Wilmore, and he was talking from the International Space Station. Butch is nearing the end of a six-month mission in space.
“Butch, you’re looking at the earth as few men or women ever get a chance to see it,” Dennis said during the interview. “Any thoughts come to your mind as you glance at the globe of six billion people?”
“Very interesting question,” Butch replied. “You know, when I was here before—when I flew five years ago, it was a shuttle mission … shuttle missions were fast and furious—it was 11 days. I think the most time I ever had to stick my nose in the window was about 20 minutes. … But now, to have the opportunity to really, no kidding, poke my nose in the window for very extended periods of time, it’s truly amazing and truly breathtaking. It makes me in awe of my Lord and Savior and Creator—I mean—beyond words.
“I can’t explain—you can’t explain the view. … I mean, you can see pictures, you can see video, and they do a little bit to show what the beauty of the earth and the globe is from here. But to see it with your own eyes and realize that it’s controlled by a sovereign God … like I said, it’s beyond words.”
Butch went on to describe the incredible sunrises and sunsets he enjoys … 16 times a day. And then he made a comment that showed that, although he is enjoying a heavenly perspective—so to speak—he’s still grounded in his faith. “I want to be clear—it is an amazing place, and it’s an amazing view. … But I did not need to come here to know my Lord. … All that I could ever know—could ever want to know—I gleaned from the words of Scripture. So I didn’t have to come here to find my Lord. He’s in the Word—that’s where He resides—and that’s where He speaks to us from.”
In this interview and another one that aired December 22, it was clear that Butch is wholly committed to Jesus Christ. At one point Dennis asked him a question he often asks his guests: “What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?” You might expect him to describe one of his 21 combat missions in Desert Storm or his three rocket launches into space.
Instead, here’s how he replied: “I think about some of the things that the Lord has allowed me to experience—the places He’s allowed me to go. I have literally flown all over the world, and seen many things, and experienced many things—but nothing compares [to] when the Lord has already, through His Spirit, convicted the heart of someone, and He’s on a few occasions drawn me to that individual. I’ve had the opportunity then to share the saving gospel with them and see Him transform a heart.”
“I’ve probably asked over a thousand men and women that question,” Dennis said. “You are the first one to ever say that courage to share your faith was the most courageous thing.”
Butch’s commitment to Christ is also evident in his marriage. In that interview onDecember 22, he and his wife, Deanna, discussed their relationship. Even on their first date, he recalled, “we talked about the Lord almost the entire date—and our views on life and our views on what we’d learned from God’s Word. That’s the thing that made it really special.”
Deanna was asked, “What’s it like to go outside and look up in the sky and know that your husband is circling the earth several times a day? What’s that feel like?”
“It’s amazing!” she replied. “It’s so funny to look up and think that he’s up there. It’s great … it’s neat, and we don’t worry. We know that he’s in the Lord’s hands, and it’s just fantastic.”
Butch praised his wife as a “faithful Christian witness” and expressed his wonder over her lack of fear on his dangerous missions. “She never has fear when I’m doing this or doing that because she completely has trust in the Lord.”
Butch and Deanna said they often listen to FamilyLife Today, and on another program while in space he sent her a special 20th anniversary greeting:
Deanna, dear, I love you; and I’m grateful to our Lord and Savior who brought us together—just over 20 years ago—and our marriage 20 years ago today. And life is better, and I pray that our Lord has been glorified in our marriage and will continue to be as we go forward. And I love you.
As co-host Bob Lepine said on the show, a husband can’t do much better than that.