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Did God send a flock of ducks to save a pair of daredevils?

Several times in my life I have known without a doubt that the Lord’s protective hand was over me. I look back on the circumstances and know He was relaying His love and waiting patiently for me to discover His purpose for my life.

It was Thanksgiving Day around 3:00 P.M. My friend Casey had just finished work and dropped by my house. Knowing that his parents were out of town and cueing in on his comment that he would probably be eating a TV dinner for his Thanksgiving meal, I invited him to eat with my family. I think he had been secretly hoping for an invitation.

Dinner was several hours away, and we decided that the best way to pass the time was to rent a small plane and go flying. We both had our private pilot’s license and were attending a local college in pursuit of a career in aviation.

In no time at all, we were at the airport getting the plane fueled. After a quick weather briefing and pre-flight check, we took to the sky. The air was smooth and the visibility was incredible—a wonderful way to enjoy God’s creation. We headed away from town toward Wyoming and soon found what we were looking for, uninhabited land and a long winding river. Casey reached for the controls. “My plane,” he said and began descending toward the river to get a closer look. Leveling off at about 15 feet, we wound through the countryside.

Enjoying the view and each other’s company, we laughed and teased each other. We were close friends and got along well. I believe it’s because we were so much alike and both very competitive. But sometimes our competitive natures lead us into some interesting situations, and today was no exception!

“Hey, is that as close as you can get? You’re not a real pilot. My plane,” I taunted in my calmest voice. Casey released the controls, and I nosed the plane over, inching closer toward the water. He shot me a stoic look.

“Mikey, I’m losing respect for you; I thought you were a good pilot. My plane.”

We went round and round with our improvised tests of skills, trying to outdo each other and prove who had the tougher nerves. When the sun began to set, we decided to head back to the airport.

“Hey, Mikey, check that out,” Casey said, pointing to a small lake. At the end of the lake, there was a wooded area with a break in the tree line just wide enough for our plane to fly through. I knew what he was thinking and approvingly gave the thumbs-up. In perfect “fighter-jet” fashion, we dove out of the sky toward the lake, leveling off just feet above the ground. The excitement seemed to build as our air speed increased. This was our grand finale to a great day’s flight! Everything was looking great, and we were just about to the shore line at top speed.

“Watch out, Case!” I yelled as a flock of ducks took flight directly in our path. Casey yanked back on the controls, and we climbed rapidly out of the way.

“That stinks. They ruined my perfect approach,” Casey said disappointedly.

“Yup, tough breaks, Buddy. You had your chance. Now watch the master,” I shot back laughing as I took over the controls and banked steeply over the trees for another pass. We both looked down and, instantly sobered, saw the power lines running directly through the trees and the gap that we had almost flown through. I know Casey had seen them too because we both looked at each other as if to say, “We almost killed ourselves!”

The short 30-minute flight back to the airport seemed like an eternity. We were silent the rest of the trip home. How could we not have seen those power lines? The ducks had saved us! Why were they there? That never happens.

That evening before Thanksgiving dinner, I bowed my head and prayed to the God who had intervened and saved our lives. Thank You, Lord, for giving me another opportunity to be a living example of Your love and grace. Amen.

Michael B. Sales writes from Broomfield, Colorado.

A Flight to Remember

by Michael Sales
From the June 2005 Signs