The Way Leads Upward

See how this pilot used prayer in several situations to keep him safe in his frequent flights between southern Africa and Alaska.

By Brad Knickerbocker, Ashland, OR

Categories: Safety

In 2000, Staff writer and editor Brad Knickerbocker embarked on the "Small Plane/Big Planet" project -- as a co-pilot flying a small aircraft from southern Africa to Alaska. As he explains, "With a laptop computer, digital camera, and satellite telephone, I filed twice a week to The Monitor's "Home Forum" page and every night to a special interactive website, making me The Monitor's first blogger."

I asked him if anything from the Bible steadied him on this amazing trip. He responded:
Marjorie Foerster Eddington

The steady and calm truths of the Bible have always been a source of encouragement and support in times of stress and disharmony -- which can occur in journalism just as in many other professions. On our "Small Plane/Big Planet" adventure, the other pilot and I were stuck in Iceland for some days due to bureaucratic delay. Via email, a Monitor colleague in Boston reminded me that "we live, and move, and have our being" in God (Acts 17:28). That helped to calm fear and frustration. Thanks to the effective prayers of those dedicated to praying for us and our trip, were on our way very soon.

There are many biblical passages about safety that were helpful on the "Small Plane/Big Planet" adventure – passages that told of Jesus' protection from angry crowds or Paul being kept safe on his travels as he endured hardships, imprisonment, and torture.

As we journeyed through our skies, there were some instances that seemed potentially dangerous involving thunderstorms and other weather factors. In one case, as we were flying over the North Atlantic between Iceland and Greenland in our small, single-engine Cessna, the wings started to become coated with ice, which can be very dangerous. I had to pray to quiet my own fear and then to see that we were upheld by God: "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe" (Ps 119:117). Soon, we found our way to clear air and landed safely on the gravel strip that was our destination.

Throughout the trip, a good, old hymn became my anthem. The last verse reads:

The way leads upward and its goal draws nearer,
Thought soars enraptured, fetterless and free;
The vision infinite to me grows clearer,
I touch the fringes of eternity. (Violet Hay)