Pilots Run Out of Fuel, Pray, Land Safely Near Jesus Sign
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — It seemed like an almost literal answer to their prayers. When two New Zealand pilots ran out of fuel in a microlight airplane they offered prayers and were able to make an emergency landing in a field — coming to rest right next to a sign reading, "Jesus is Lord."
Grant Stubbs and Owen Wilson, both from the town of Blenheim on the
country's South Island, were flying up the sloping valley of Pelorus Sound
when the engine spluttered, coughed and died."My friend and I are both Christians so our immediate reaction in a life-threatening situation was to ask for God's help," Stubbs told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
He said he prayed during the ill-fated flight Sunday that the tiny craft would
get over the top of a ridge and that they would find a landing site that was not
too steep — or in the nearby sea.Wilson said that the pair would have been in deep trouble if the fuel had run out five minutes earlier.
"If it had to run out, that was the place to be," he said. "There was an
instantaneous answer to prayer as we crossed the ridge and there was an airfield — I didn't know it existed till then."After Wilson glided the powerless craft to a
landing on the grassy strip, the pair noticed they were beside a 20-foot-tall
sign that read, "Jesus is Lord — The Bible."
"When we saw that, we started laughing," Stubbs said.Nearby residents provided
them with gas to fly the home-built plane back to base.
One of this things that struck me about this story was the discussion it stirred up on several news blogs. Several people were indignant that this was considered news. To many people this smacked of religious propganda. Several other people defended the newsworthiness of the
above story, but agreed that religious topics were only to be considered news and not
propoganda as long as the story was reported by an "objective" source. Then there was the occasional post by someone quoting scripture (the favorite text quoted was Matt 7:7). The people who thought the entire story was religious propganda were quick to attack anyone who used scripture or said they thought this story was a "miracle."
One of the most common thoughts on the discussion boards went along these lines, "God must have something special for those two since God saved them, but let countless other thousands die that same day." Most expressed that sentiment sarcastically, though there was the very occasional person who thought that literally. In a world filled with drought, earthquakes, cyclones, disease, and many other natural disasters, how do we view the claim by two pilots that God instantaneously answered their prayer for a safe landing? In my opinion, we take it at face value.
As people of faith, it should not seem strange to us that prayers are answered. As people of Christians, we expect God to answer our prayer and so we are actively look for their answer. The same is true with the two pilots in New Zealand, if they had not been actively looking for a place to land, they would have crashed. So it is when we pray for God to be in the midst of the suffereing of this world. Are we actively working towards helping those suffering from natural disasters or other aflictions? If we are, we are able to find God in the midst of the suffering with us. As the Gospel of Matthew says, "‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you."