Missing on the Mountain
Fifteen years ago today, my husband Craig piloted our little airplane on a routine flight from Grand Rapids, MI to Lebanon, PA. He was supposed to pick up the pastor friend he’d dropped off the week prior.
Craig never arrived at his destination.
A search ensued that lasted for weeks.
Life was turned upside down and inside out.
It was harrowing.
It was all-consuming.
Not just for me, it imprisoned my children, my extended family, and all my friends.
Life as we knew it just stopped.
In that time of suspended anticipation, our faith was tested and our prayer lives exploded.
Everyone wants to see a miracle.
No one wants to need one.
I needed one.
Did I get it?
I’ll let you decide.
On the very last day of the long search, every lead had been run down. Langley, NASA, the FAA, Coast Guard, and State Patrols in 5 states had exhausted every lead and resource. There was nowhere else to look. And then … a Civil Air Patrol ground team radioed in that they’d spotted the plane under a canopy of deciduous trees.
“And Craig, have they found Craig?” I asked excitedly.
There is no word. I would have to wait at the command center until the ground team hiked down to the crash site.
Time seemed to have stopped.
Much later, someone comes to find me. There is more information. People avoid my eyes. Four men in green jumpsuits take me into a small room.
Their faces tell me what they are reluctant to speak.
Craig is dead.
I didn’t get what I wanted – for Craig to be returned to me safely.
- But, I was rescued.
- I did get answers.
- I was given closure.
In the fall, when trees become glorious exhibitions of God’s creativity, on a mountain, after weeks of searching, a maroon-red plane is found under a canopy of trees by a group of men and boys assigned to cover a five square mile quadrant of forested terrain in the rain.
Would you call that a miracle?
I’d have to say yes.
Friend, I don’t know what happens to your mind and heart when your life turns upside down, but mine runs to the land of NO, NO, NO! Followed almost immediately by What If…?
Only after I have run every scenario I can think of, do I finally remember that I belong to a God who loves me. That while things are out of my control, nothing is out of His. That I can talk through my fears with Him. That I can ask, and ask boldly for a desirable outcome. I don’t always get what I want, but I can ask expectantly.
How about you? Where does your mind and heart run when faced with calamity?
If you need hope for a miracle, remember there is a God who loves YOU, too.
Scripture Refresher: I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 NIV
Prayer: Father, you are my hope and security. Remind me to turn to you first and often. Be patient with my failed attempts to trust you. I do trust you. Amen.
I’d love to share my whole story with you.
Look for my book The Widow Wore Pink, A True Story of Life After Loss and the Transforming Power of a Loving God, on Amazon or ask for it at your local book store.
I didn’t know you very well then, but I certainly experienced it with you ………..highs and lows……….including sorrow. Since then, I have certainly learned from you, and I really appreciate being your friend from a distance. I really look forward to your book being out in print!
Life IS Good!
Thank you, Don. You were instrumental in the search and I appreciate your leadership and compassion.
August 27 is not a good day for me, as well. Our 4 year old son was killed in a car accident on that date, in 1987. Our daughter (Shannon) was in the car (unhurt physically), as well as her grandparents. (father in law suffered severe injuries) I, too, went through, “No, No, No…and What If?” Our daughter said to me that day”Mom, don’t cry…don’t you know Nathan is with Jesus, sitting on his lap – sucking his thumb and twirling his kiki?” Out of the mouth of a 7 year old. I don’t know how I could have continued on, without my faith in a loving God.
My prayers are with you, as you remember.
How joyful it will be, when we can be with our loved ones again.
Your story breaks my heart.
I agree that without Jesus it would have been impossible to continue.
Many Blessings to you and your family.