This actually happened years ago.
It was in 1968 on an airplane headed for New York—a routine and normally very boring flight. But this time it proved to be otherwise.
As they were on their descent pattern, the pilot realized that the landing gear was not engaging. He messed around with the controls, trying again and again to get the gear to lock into place . . . without success. He then asked ground control for instruction. As the plane circled the landing field, the emergency crew coated the runway with foam and fire trucks and other emergency vehicles moved into position.
Meanwhile, the passengers were told of each maneuver in that calm, unemotional voice pilots do so well. Flight attendants glided about the cabin with an air of cool reserve. Passengers were told to place their heads between their knees and grab their ankles just before impact. There were tears and a few cries of despair. It was one of those "I can't believe this is happening to me" experiences.
Then, with the landing only minutes away, the pilot suddenly announced over the intercom: "We are beginning our final descent. At this moment, in accordance with International Aviation Codes established at Geneva, it is my obligation to inform you that if you believe in God you should commence prayer." Scout's honor . . . that's exactly what he said!
I'm happy to report that the belly landing occurred without a hitch. No one was injured and, aside from some rather extensive damage to the plane, the airline hardly remembered the incident. In fact, a relative of one of the passengers called the airline the very next day and asked about that prayer rule the pilot had quoted. The answer was a cool, reserved "No comment."
Amazing. The only thing that brought out into the open a deep-down "secret rule" was crisis. Pushed to the brink, back to the wall, right up to the wire, all escape routes closed . . . only then does our society crack open a hint of recognition that God may be there and—"if you believe . . . you should commence prayer."
On this day of remembrance of our nation's freedom, I want to urge you to commence prayer on behalf of our country. As the political rancor intensifies and our nation deepens its cultural divide, what we need is God's people to pray.
The Bible tells us that God responds when His people pray:
If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Amid the celebration of fireworks and cookouts, family gatherings and backyard parties, please take some time to bow before the Lord . . . thank Him for the freedom that is ours . . . then ask Him to heal our land.
May He continue to be gracious to us and to this great country that is the United States of America.
Amid the celebrations of the 4th, please take time to ask God to heal our land.
— Charles R. Swindoll
Copyright © 2017 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.