by Carl Colbert
Romans 8:28 (NKJV).
Not everyone gets a dramatic wake-up call. Few know what to do with it.
As a child, I wanted to be a writer. A raconteur. A great storyteller, as my father and grandfather had been before me. Unlike them, I wanted to pursue my calling until I was successful.
But life got in the way, and my pursuit of writing waned.
On January 27, 1983, a B-52 bomber aircraft caught fire and burned to the ground at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Five technicians were killed. If I’d arrived ten minutes sooner, I might’ve been one of them.
Aircraft 57-6507 had returned from a flight with a radar beacon problem. I was a twenty-four-year-old sergeant assigned to repair the jet and train two rookies straight out of technical school. It took extra time to locate replacement parts and gather all the tools necessary. I let Job Control know we were on the way to the aircraft.
We were loading the truck when a Master Sergeant diverted us. An aircraft was on fire, and we needed to leave. Get as far away from the flightline as possible. No questions. No reporting in. Just go.
Several hours later we learned that the destroyed aircraft was 57-6507, the bomber we had been en route to repair.
As I look back on that event thirty-six years ago, I realize God was steering me. He delayed me those ten minutes for a purpose. His purpose. Philippians 2:13 tells us that “it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do his good pleasure” (KJV). Or as the NIV rephrases it, “for his good purpose.”
As long as I’m living, he’s not through with me. He wants me to tell his story. And like that aircraft accident, he’ll make sure it follows his time and purpose.
Precious God, thank you for your salvation, here on earth and throughout eternity. Thank you for giving us a purpose. Please guide us to fulfill it, and let it happen in your good timing. Amen.
Carl Colbert—no relation to the famous comedian—is a new writer with a huge imagination. Well-read and varied in his experiences, Carl has regaled his daughters with stories from his Air Force and Air Guard career, his private technical vocation, and growing up amid the social turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s.