Is it offbeat that God answers prayer?

\"Strange News?\"In a completely unsurprising story from the Associated Press, two New Zealand men were in a plane that was about to go down due to a lack of fuel. What they did next was what many people, Christian or not, would have done: They prayed. And, not only did God hear their prayers, he caused them to land their plane next to a billboard that said “Jesus is Lord — The Bible.” Here is part of the story:

Grant Stubbs and Owen Wilson, both from the town of Blenheim on the country’s South Island, were flying up the sloping valley of Pelorus Sound when the engine spluttered, coughed and died.


“My friend and I are both Christians so our immediate reaction in a life-threatening situation was to ask for God’s help,” Stubbs told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Now, I say this is unsurprising because I know that God can — and does — answer prayer. I think God has a sense of humor in that he caused their plane to land near the sign so it could be “more newsworthy” (to the Associated Press, that is). After all, is it that remarkable that God answers prayers, often dramatically, every day? It shouldn’t be. After all, he says just as much in “The Bible.” Sidenote: I am irritated at these billboards that make broad statements and then attribute them to “The Bible” or “God,” meaning you cannot refute them. You can make many true-sounding statements that are not necessarily biblical this way e.g. — “You can’t beat your kids. — God”

So, this story about God answering a prayer in an amazing fashion now catches the eye of the Associated Press and ends up on its Web site under “AP Top Strange News.” This is the kind of world we live in, sadly. And, perhaps even sadder, I believe there are many Christians who think it strange that God actively works in our lives each minute so that they live their lives as if God is only there as some kind of cosmic 911 operator. Although I can’t be totally sure, the statement above by one of the men has that kind of ring to it.

Here’s the thing: Did the men think to pray to God before the trip or maybe before they realized their plane was in danger? I have a good friend who works as a missionary pilot. He flies in places that many people would say are extremely dangerous and is a great praying man. He e-mails updates before his trips and then sends out updates afterwards about how God answered those prayers. Most are uneventful, but there are several where you see how God answers prayers in a way different than was prayed, but it turned out that it was the best  way possible. And my friend acknowledges that in his updates.

These kind of stories (the one about the men in New Zealand) make big splashes and will get many people excited about Christianity and God. But the truth is that God is working day in and day out doing things that may seem mundane but are just as mighty. Jesus, who we worship as Lord, upholds the universe by his mighty hand:


Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Hebrews 1:1-4