One of my all time favorite stories is Apollo 13. Who hasn't said at one point in their life, "Houston, we have a problem." And when Gene Krantz says, "Gentlemen, failure is not an option." I just get all tingly and proud of what the genius of our country accomplished. In Jim Lovell's book, Apollo 13, he tells a very amazing story about a flight he was on while stationed on a carrier. (I do not recall the name of the aircraft carrier.)
It was coming on dark and he was quite a ways from the carrier when all his instruments went dead. He was literally flying blind, almost dark, and hours before a sliver of a moon would rise. He tried everything to get the instruments back short of the Microsoft engineering solution: completely turning off the plane's jet engine and turning it back on again. He radioed his flight chief asking for his position relative to the carrier so he could at least be flying toward home instead of out to black sea. Amazingly, he was dead on the stern of the ship. All he had to do was keep flying straight. But, how would he know he was flying straight without instruments? Being a most accomplished pilot, he flew as he had been trained, by the seat of his pants. Then he began to worry about how he would land the plane.
If he came in too low, he'd crash into the stern, if he came in too high, he'd overshoot and that thingy that catches and slows down the planes wouldn't grab him so he'd wind up in the drink for sure, right in front of the huge ship traveling at least 30 or 40 knots. He changed his thought channel when he got to that point. The chief told him not to borrow trouble, that they'd work it out when he'd caught up with the ship.
Several minutes flew by. It has been a very long time since I read that book, but if I recall correctly, he lost radio contact about that time and I'm thinking, this guy had the worst luck in the world. How could he ever land on an aircraft carrier in the dark with no lights and no instruments and no radio?
Lovell said that about that time, he saw the sea begin to glow. He instantly realized that this was the plankton stirred up in the wake of the ship. All he had to do was follow the glow and he'd be home in no time. The closer he got, the brighter the sea got and soon, the froth churned up by the gigantic propellers was glowing almost as bright as a full moon, bright enough so that he could guage the proper height to land. It might not have been his most graceful landing, but I'm sure it was a most grateful landing.
Lovell did speak of God and His influence in His book, but he went wide of the mark when telling this story. He called himself lucky. I call him blessed. Luck had nothing to do with it. God had a plan and everything went according to His plan. In that string of incidences, I can see God's fingerprints all over them and how God prepared him for that specific set. If Lovell had not learned in high school biology about plankton, then he would not have known what he was looking at, if he had not been an experienced pilot, then he may have panicked and crashed the plane, or flown out to sea. There is no such thing as a coincidence. I call them God Moments - and I've forgotten who coined that phrase, perhaps it was Beth Moore.
However, the fact remains that God makes provision for every circumstance. He leads us to school and guides us through it. When we fall, He picks us up, dusts us off, bandages our bloody knees and puts ice on our black eyes, then pushes us back to school so that we are prepared to face a black sea, giving us a frothy glow to follow.
As Christians, we constantly face scary moments, but fear is not of the LORD. He gave us a spirit of power and love and sound minds, not of fear. 2 Timothy 1:17. So look for the glow, and follow it. God has put it there espceially for you to remind you that He is always near and that nothing can snatch you from His hand.
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