“16 F, window seat to your right,” The Hostess smiled as I boarded the plane one beautiful afternoon. Walking past in a brisk manner, I headed down the aisle in a hurry to relieve my ankles from the pain of unrealistic heels. Halted by a man in flowing Agbada* who was in the middle of fitting a noticeably large suitcase into the over head compartment. I waited patiently till he was done; when he was, he took his seat without a simple apology!
I couldn’t be bothered, I was just glad to be off my feet. A friendly looking woman took the seat next to mine. She had the look of a middle aged working woman; her clothes spelt success and her face, containment.
“Hello,” she greeted.
“Good afternoon,” I responded. For an hour’s flight, I didn’t even want to muster the strength to start a conversation. I attempted to read a book but for the fear of dropping the novel, I settled for a nap.
I really couldn’t tell when the flight eventually took off, but I remember when the first rude jab shook the sleep out of me.
“What’s going on?” I asked the nice lady. The once peaceful look on her face was now replaced by a fearful stare. She didn’t have to respond; the captain’s voice sounded over head as he tried to explain in the calmest possible way.
“We are experiencing a little difficulty. Please remain seated with your seat belt fastened. Thank you”
”What?” the words were barely out of my mouth when the plane jolted, sending disposable cups scattering all over. I heard all types of gasps as people began talking and praying in more languages than I have ever heard in my entire life.
“Cabin crew please be seated” the hostesses scurried off to take a seat. People attempted to clam down as the turbulence seemed to subside. For a brief moment they did until the plane dropped abruptly in altitude. Another round of prayers began only this time I joined in too.
I felt fear become a mortal being staring right into my soul. It wasn’t the fear of going to die it was a feeling of de ja vu as an incident I had read about earlier in the day replayed in my mind.
“Visibility was perfect or so the Airmen thought until the weather turned against them.… a storm broke out on the horizon sending ICAS Air craft, JOY into a turbulence… the flight crew struggled to control the craft until they lost an engine… lost control when the plane took a nose dive …”
I felt a tingle run up my spine as the turbulence shook us violently. I could feel the terror of the passengers that were on board JOY as I visualized the event. What happened to the Christians on that flight? I wondered, “If they prayed half as much as the people on this flight surely you could have stopped the crash?” I questioned God. Turning to look out the window; the sight of dark clouds only heightened my fears. I tried to free my mind from the terrifying pictures that stayed fixed but failed miserably. Just as I was about to give up the battle between my ears, a word floated through my mind, illuminating my entire being like rays from a rising sun.
“Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens always be thankful for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” It calmed me, if God put me on this flight then he had a plan and it was one I could trust.
After what seemed like eternity, the captain’s voice came up on the speakers again, “In a few minutes we would begin our final descend. Please remain seated and ensure your belt is fastened. We apologize for the distress and promise you a safe landing. Thank you”
“Thank you Lord” I exhaled and turned to look out the window as the dark clouds parted and gave way for a clearer view. His words echoed in my ears, “Rejoice always for this is the will of God.”
The plane crash, the horrid flight, all was in line with God’s will and as absurd as it appears to human reasoning, He’s got it all figured out and working together for our good.
*traditional African outfit for men characterized by handcraft needlework and a heavy flowing outlook.
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