Saturday, February 22, 2014

Running out of fuel changed his life

Mark Rose learned to fly at 16. When he was 22, he was a pilot on a fleet of helicopters working on a pipeline in the Arctic.

He was completely unchurched, and an atheist. Until one day, when he ran out of fuel in a snowstorm. . . 

He had flown some hunters to a large river in the Arctic. On his way back, he found herds of caribou were covering his first and second choices for a landing site.

He was running low on fuel, so he radioed for a weather report at an airport at a place called Kotzebue. "Come on in, the weather's fine," the operator told him. He decided to take a chance on his fuel holding out. Then the weather changed. He ran into a snowstorm, and it was dark. He had to follow a ribbon of river below.

His options were running out. He had been flying on empty for 30 minutes. He had friends - fellow pilots - who had died in similar flying conditions. "I don 't want to die," he thought.

The engine started missing. He was waiting for silence, then having to crash at night. He did something he had never done before. He prayed. "If there's a God," he said, "I need Your help now."

He heard a voice speak to him. "Son, you said the right thing." Immediately, the snowstorm cleared. Below, he saw the lights of Kotzebue. "It might as well have been the lights of heaven," he said.

The trouble was he had to fly another 20 miles over Kotzebue Sound, a broad expanse of saltwater.

That was a challenge. Mark believes God added an hour's worth of fuel to his tanks to save his life. When he landed safely at Kotzebue, he was a believer in God. But he still wasn't a Christian.

He began to date a Christian girl, who challenged him to read the Bible. As he did, he fell in love with the God of the Bible, for His reasonableness, His forgiveness, His justice.

He had another brush with death in a helicopter that crashed. It completely flattened the seat he rode in.

Because of a mix-up over schedules, he missed a flight with some contractors. Shortly after it took off, it crashed, killing everyone on board.

On a flight to Fairbanks, he began to think about his life. "I'm not happy," he thought. "This whole thing is not working.

"Everything I read in the Bible is either a lie or it's true. It's all or nothing. If God can raise someone from the dead and forgive my sins, that's exactly what God has for me."

He gave his life to Christ then and there. When he landed at Fairbanks, he was a new creature. What the Bible calls "a new creature in Christ."

You can read the full story here.

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