In his book Flight to Heaven, pilot Dale Black details the plane crash that should of killed him and his near death experience that provided him with glimpses of Heaven and forever changed the way he viewed God and other people. The most impressive part of the story for me, however, is the story of his physical healing from the injuries he sustained in the crash.
Black was forced to endure 13 separate surgeries. The accident left him with parts of the plane lodged in his head, a shoulder that was mashed, and an ankle that was described by doctors as having exploded. When told that his ankle would never heal and that he would never walk normal again, if at all, Black began praying for a miracle from God.
On two separate occasions, Black returned to his doctor to be told the ankle was not healing, in fact, he was told the ankle was beyond healing and that blood would never circulate through it again. These pronouncements were a true test of Black’s faith as he had earnestly prayed for a healing and was convinced that it was God’s will that he would be restored physically. It was then that he had an epiphany of sorts.
Black was praying for a healing and a blessing from God, but he wasn’t seeking God Himself. This thought occurred to him as he read Jesus’ words in Matthew Chapter 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” It was then that Black’s prayers shifted. He began praying for a relationship with God. He began praying for God to reveal Himself. He began stepping out into the world in obedience to God’s Word.
Lo and behold, on his next trip to the doctor, it was discovered God had worked a miracle in Dale Black’s ankle.
How often do we make the same mistake Dale Black made? We pray for God to bless us, to work in our lives, to move mountains, and to heal us without ever taking the time to build a relationship with Him. There are basic steps each of us can take to know God better:
- Confess (1 John 1:9): When we confess our sins to God and embrace His forgiveness it brings us closer in relationship to Him.
- Listen for His voice (2 Peter 1:19): Too often, we’re too busy talking to hear what God would say to us through His Word. We need to silence ourselves before Scripture and allow it to search our hearts so God can speak to us.
- Pray (Matthew 6:9-13): In His model prayer, Jesus taught us to pray for God’s will to be done. The sure fire way to be blessed is to align our desired to match God’s will through prayer.
- Worship (Psalm 95:1-2): When we come together with fellow believers and worship our God, we are stepping into God’s presence. Spending time with Him builds our relationship with Him.
- Obedience (John 14:23): Our obedience to God is a response to the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. It is an expression of love and devotion that will build our relationship with Him.
When we make the above practices a part of our lives, we will build an intimate relationship with God. And while this doesn’t guarantee He will always answer our prayers in the way He answered Dale Black’s, it does mean His blessings will be a natural extension of our relationship with Him. And eventually, our desires will begin to align with His will … and we will see His blessings in every circumstance.
Flight to Heaven: A Plane Crash … A Lone Survivor … A Journey to Heaven—and Back, 2010, Dale Black
“How can I have a closer relationship with God?” , www.gotquestions.org
The Keys to Spiritual Growth, 2001, John MacArthur