Faithlife Sermons

LIved to Fly Again

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Ralph Borthwick took off from the Wycliffe base Yarinacocha Peru. He was transporting a team of Gospel workers into the mountainous jungles. The weather was fine at take off, but without warning he was swallowed up in the worst storm he had ever seen.

Curtains of water cascaded over the plane, leaking in around the canopy and panels of the fuselage. Turbulence shook the little, single-engine amphibian so hard it seemed the rivets would pop out. There was nothing but static on the headset, and the rain got worse, like someone turning on a firehose to the windshield. Borthwick felt as if he were in a submarine rather than an airplane as water spewed in from every seam and crack, drenching both him and his instrument panel. Then came hail, beating against the windshield like bullets. At the worst moment, the engines failed. Apart from the pounding rain and howling wind, there was nothing but silence. The droning of the engines had stopped.

As Borthwick struggled to retain control of the aircraft, he suddenly remembered the verse he and his wife had read just the day before at their breakfast table—Psalm 50:15: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

During all the time of his emergency, Ralph realized he had not yet called on God. Now, with death seemingly only seconds away, he began to pray: “Father, if You still have work for me and my passengers, please bring on the engine.”

At once, he thought of something. He had not yet pulled the little handle that would shut off outside air to the engine, the carburetor heat. He tried to dismiss the thought, for that wasn’t something one would normally do in an emergency. But the thought came to him with force, and he reached down and jerked the carburetor heat handle, at the same time pulling back on the stick.

With a mighty roar the engines screamed to life. Borthwick shouted “Praise the Lord!” and, at literally the last second, he pulled his plane out of the dive and Ralph Borthwick lived to fly again.

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