A jolt, a shudder, the floor seems to drop then heave back up as the plane lurches this way and that. The twin-propeller engines straining under the pressures of the intense turbulence. Inside, the pilot, sweating from the exertion of fighting the controls, leans forward to look up for a break in the weather. The strobing flashes of the lightning, illuminate the angry black clouds surrounding them.
In the back a single passenger sits, seatbelt fastened, fingers digging deep into the armrests. Fear struck across his face. He was dressed in a grey business suit, dark stains under his arms wet from perspiration. Never had he dreamed he’d be in this position. Trapped in a tin can, thousands of feet above a frigid ocean, hundreds of miles from the nearest land, certain that death was only minutes away.
The plane shook again and he gripped tighter, swallowing as if his tie was suffocating him. In a swift action of what seemed like insurmountable courage, he let go of the armrest and pulled at the tie, loosening it before returning his tight grip.
Suddenly a loud roar outside and the plane shuddered violently. Then something was different. There was something smoother about the plane. Daring to look, the man turned to the window with a clear view over the wing. In plain sight, the engine had stopped. Quickly, his head turned forward, his grip tightened and he closed his eyes and gritted his teeth tightly.
A million thoughts raced through his mind. His childhood, teen years, twenties, all the way up to now, three days off his fifty-eighth birthday. Life flashing before him in a chaotic recollection of the memories that made up his life. He’d lived his life, his own man. Always in control, never relying on anyone and certainly not a God. Everything he was, he owed to himself.
Yet in this moment, gliding on the edge of the eternal abyss, he questioned all that he was, all he had achieved. In this moment, it seemed so meaningless. On the precipice of death, all his wealth, his power, his high profile acquaintances, his connections in the elite government; none of it could save him and none of it mattered. There was only one name on the tip of his tongue. Desperately trying to hold it back for the sake of his ego, his lips betrayed him.
“God help me” he cried. Openly weeping as he surrendered all that he was, all that he is to this idea he’d forsaken since childhood.
In this moment of surrender, it was as if his burdens of life were lifted and an ambient calm swept over him.
“God help me” he whispered. This time with a tone of confidence and stability.
Suddenly the sky lit up. An electrifying bolt of lightning arced through the sky towards the plane. Inside the man watched as if this microsecond of time was an eternity. White hot fingers, crawling through the air, finding their way through the currents and flow. From the heavens above to the tip of the wing.
Instantly, the plane dropped ferociously as the air pressure beneath fell away. The electricity from the strike, sparking across the fuselage. Out of nowhere, the engines roared into power. The pilot turned to his co-pilot a look of intense relief across his face.
In the passenger cabin, the man released the buckle of his seatbelt and dropped to his knees. With complete conviction, his hands grasped and his lips mumbled incoherent sounds. Deep inside his very being, he offered his prayer of complete devotion to the only being that reached out and touched him in his moment of complete despair.