There is a world unseen to the human eye. It is the spiritual world, and our Heavenly Father rules this spiritual world and our physical world. The Lord’s angels, who obviously protect us, move in both worlds. I say “obviously” from experiences in my own life, where I was protected or those I care about were protected. And beyond the experiences that I am aware of, I suspect there have been many, many occasions where the Lord has delivered me. I have no doubt that we have no clue as to the extent of the Lord’s deliverance and protection over us.
Franklin Graham suffered from the problem of many children of famous and successful parents. He grew up in the shadow of Billy Graham, his father. Franklin rebelled against what was expected of him as the son of a famous evangelist. In his autobiography, Rebel With A Cause, Franklin describes an interesting incident in his young life.
While attending LeTourneau College in Texas, Franklin became aware of the importance of aircraft to missionaries in remote locations. He also became interested in flying and earned his pilot’s license.
On one occasion Franklin Graham and three friends flew from Texas in a rented airplane to visit his parents who were vacationing in Florida. On their return trip, they stopped at Mobile, Alabama. At that time they found that instead of flying west to Texas, they had to change course and fly north to skirt around a series of thunderstorms in their path. It was night, and the generator of the airplane quit working after they took off from Mobile. Whether it was because Franklin was not familiar with the rented airplane, or due to inexperience, he did not notice that the airplane lights, instruments and radio were all operating off of the battery.
Soon the lights began to dim. Franklin flew, watching the instruments with a flashlight, while one of his friends, an experienced pilot, searched the charts for an airport. They realized the flashlight batteries would not last that long.
They flew the emergency triangle pattern in hopes that the radar would notice their plight. After one triangle, they gave up on that because there was no radio for the aircraft controllers to contact them. They had been flying around 11,000 feet. Flying the plane while holding the flashlight in his teeth, Franklin began descending, hoping to come out beneath the clouds. Thankfully, they broke out beneath the cloud cover at 2,000 feet and found the lights of Jackson, Mississippi.
From there they flew to a small, private airport. According to FAA procedures, the control tower would signal a radioless airplane with a green light when it was safe to land. They circled the airport for about three minutes in the hope that they would be noticed. They received the green light. Franklin let his more experienced friend pilot the plane for the landing. The emergency landing lights came on by the airstrip below. The landing was perfect.
Just as they touched down the landing lights went off. They could not understand why the control tower did not leave the lights on.
When they taxied up to the airport administration building, a man came out and angrily asked them who authorized them to land. To land at an airport without authorization could cause a collision with another plane. Franklin told him they saw the green light. The man, who was not the air controller, was puzzled.
It was years later when Franklin Graham read an article in a magazine that the “mystery” was resolved. The article explained how the airport manager was demonstrating airport operations to the minister of his church. He was showing them the light gun with its three colors; red, white and green. For some inexplicable reason (well, we know the reason) when he turned on the green light he directed it out the window. He then demonstrated the emergency landing lights which were designed to assist pilots in poor visibility situations. After leaving the lights on a few minutes, he turned them off because the airport was closed. The manager did not know the airplane was circling the field.
When he directed the green light out the window, it was not by coincidence that he aimed it at Franklin’s plane. When he turned on the emergency landing lights, the timing was precise, and it was not coincidental. God was in control, not the airport manager.
It is interesting how the Lord used His children in this situation. There were four Christians in the disabled aircraft, and they were all praying. The airport manager was also a Christian, demonstrating the airport to his minister, and the Lord directed all their actions.
Do you think it is coincidence when a friend calls just as you are leaving for somewhere, delaying you? Do think it is coincidental when you get all the traffic lights green, enabling you to arrive early? Perhaps it is the Lord directing your path in order to miss the drunken driver or the texting driver. There are no coincidences. God is in control. Praise His name!