On December, 1955, I left again for the United States, this time taking with me my wife and little son, Paul. We left from the city of Beirut on a Pan American DC 7 plane, which was to travel by way of Rome, Brussels and Shannon. Flying at 24,000 feet altitude over Turkey, Greece, and Italy, was a wonderful experience. Only six hours from Beirut to Rome! How long did it take Paul, the Apostle?

After stopping for an hour in Rome, we continued on in the same plane and with the same passengers. We were headed for Brussels, Belgium. After climbing higher and higher, the plane leveled off at 20,000 feet. What a beautiful journey!

By 9:30 p.m. we were getting tired and thinking of getting some sleep. The pilot announced that in three and one-half hours we would be in Brussels. My wife soon fell asleep. I was holding our little son, when suddenly (I wish that people would think more of that word "suddenly" for many things in life happen so suddenly) one of the engines just outside our window exploded with a noise such as I had never heard before. Immediately the whole engine caught fire. The passengers immediately began to prepare their safety belts. Everyone was very pale. I was scared. The hostesses were very much frightened and did not know what to do. What could we do? Where would we fall, on the sea or in the mountains? We knew that at any moment the fire would reach the gasoline tank causing an explosion which might tear the plane apart and bring death to all of us.

It is easy for me to write these words now and easy for you to read them, but it is another matter to go through such an experience. When one is on a ship, there is the possibility of getting away from danger in a life-boat. When one is in a car accident, there is the possibility of rescue, but when one is on a plane, there is nothing to do but to sit and wait for the end. I am sure that each of the more than sixty passengers, believers and unbelievers, was praying to a supreme God. People were saying, "O God! Won't You help us? O God, deliver us." Two women who were sitting just behind us were praying, "O Mary! Mother of Jesus, please tell Jesus. Mary, please help us." They were praying with tears. I was so glad I did not need to go to the Mother of Jesus, to Mary, but that I could go straight to my Redeemer, to Jesus Himself. Glory to God! People were closing the curtains so that they would not see the fire for all felt that we would be killed any moment. Though I expected the explosion, I knew that surely the Lord was able to perform a miracle and save the plane from the great danger. Looking through the window of the plane, I could see no hope, but looking through the window of faith, I began to see great hope and began to lift my heart to God in prayer.

The thoughts that came to me in that moment were these. First, I was so glad that the three of us were ready to die -- my wife, my son, and myself. Before the plane could crash to the ground we would be with the Lord. Secondly, I was so glad for the meeting the night before in the city of Beirut where I had preached to a large congregation. I was glad I had done my best and felt clean from the blood of the people that had listened to me. Thirdly, I was glad that my family was with me so that we could die together. My friends, it is good to be ready to die any place and in any way, and to know that we shall have the privilege of opening our eyes in the presence of the Lord.

When we close our eyes down here, we should be ready to open them in the presence of God.

I felt led to go to the washroom on the plane where I could better pray. There I lifted up my voice to God and began to weep.

I said, "Lord, surely You do not want me to die now. You are a great God. You can do great miracles. Show Thy power today." I reminded God of what He had promised to do through this unworthy life. I said, "Lord, You promised me these things. Do You want me to die now?" I began to weep more before the Lord, not because I was afraid of death, but because of the burden I carried. I said, "Lord, if I die now, what will happen? Thousands of people in the heathen world will be so glad that I am dead. Many spies have been threatening me. They have wanted to put me in prison, they have wanted to kill me, and now, Lord, if they know that I have burned to death in the air, they will be very glad." I also prayed, "Lord, the devil likes to do things like this to hinder Thy work, but I am glad that You can overrule the power of the devil."

My dear friends, Jesus came right in that burning plane and stood beside me and said, "Samuel, my son, do not be afraid. For your sake, I am saving the plane."

Hallelujah! I thanked the Lord from the depth of my heart. I said to Him, "Lord, though Satan is the prince of the power of the air, yet You are the God of the universe and nothing is too hard for Thee. I know that all things are possible to him that believeth. Thank you, Lord."

I went back to my seat bubbling with unexplainable joy. Looking outside the window again, I noticed that the fire was worse than before, yet I felt in my heart more assurance than ever before, and I said to my wife, "The Lord Jesus just appeared now and told me that nothing is going to happen and we are going to be saved."

She said, "Is that so?"

I said, "Yes."

Looking outside again we could see that the fire was still increasing but we were sure that God's Word is true. He is the omnipotent Lord. He never changes.

Suddenly, as we were looking out the window, the whole engine which was on fire completely dropped from the plane, The pilot, who had come back and was looking out the window, could not understand why the engine had dropped out. Not just the propeller but the whole mighty engine had fallen completely from the plane, just before the fire had reached the gasoline tank. The pilot could not explain it, but we knew Who had caused the engine to fall.

Immediately after the engine had fallen, the pilot said to the passengers, "The plane is under control. Do not be afraid, we will be all right. We are going back to Rome. Fasten your seat belts until the end of the journey."

When we reached Rome again, we found many people at the airport -- members of the fire brigade, policemen reporters. and many other people. They wanted to see if the plane would land safely or if it would catch fire again.

We emerged from the plane with inexpressible joy in our hearts. The passengers were weeping as they came out. What a tremendous experience! What a miracle! Glory be to the Name of Jesus! He is still the God of miracles who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. He is the God who delivered Daniel from the lions' den. He is the God who delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace. He is the God who supplied every need of Elijah. He is the God who has done great miracles in all generations of the human race. My dear friends, I am so glad that I can witness to the fact that this blessed Lord, who spoke to Paul when his ship was in great danger and who told him not to be afraid but that the lives of all would be saved though the ship would be broken to pieces, is the same Lord who came into that fiery plane and delivered our lives.

After landing again in Rome, some of the passengers came to me and said, "We were so glad, Brother Doctorian, that you were with us in the plane. We feel our lives were saved because you were there."

I said, "Do not thank me but give the glory to Jesus for He is the same Lord yesterday, today and forever."

After this wonderful deliverance, we continued our journey in another plane and arrived safely in New York. Later I read in the Chicago Tribune that the engine which had fallen from the burning plane had landed on the shore of Italy and continued burning for nearly three hours.

 

From: MY LIFE STORY By Samuel Doctorian, World Gospel Mission, National Holiness Missionary Society Marion, 1956 Indiana, U.S.A.

 

 

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