On April 4th, 1943,
twenty-five B-24 bombers of the 376th Bomb Group took off from
their World War II air force base at Soluch, Libya, in North Africa,
for a high-altitude bombing attack against harbor facilities at
Naples, Italy. This was part of the Allied invasion of Italy.
All the planes but one returned safely to Allied territory that
night. The one which was missing was number 64, nick-named the
Be Good. Because they flew under strict orders for
radio silence, there was no communication with the lost plane
to know what happened to it.
16 years later on November 9th, 1958, several British geologists
were flying over the desolate, sun-baked Libyan desert. At about
400 miles south of Soluch, they spotted an aircraft on the sand.
A ground party which reached the site in March, 1959, discovered
the plane to be a B-24. The Lady
Be Good had been found.
Evidence at the site,
and a diary found later on the body of one of the crew, indicated
that the pilots had been watching an instrument known as an ADF
(automatic direction finder) to find their way to their base while
flying back south over the Mediterranean Sea. The needle of the
ADF pointed at a strong radio signal, originating from their air
force base, which would lead them safely home in the dark. However,
when the ADF needle swung around and pointed behind them more
than an hour before they were due to arrive at their base, they
concluded that their ADF instrument had malfunctioned. So they
kept pressing on southward hoping they would somehow find their
The facts turned
out that the ADF instrument was working perfectly (proved later
by testing the unit removed from the wreckage of the plane). There
had been a very strong tailwind that night which had simply pushed
the plane southward to their base much sooner than they expected.
So they didn't believe they had arrived and they flew on in the
dark, hoping for the best.
As their fuel supply
became depleted, the nine men aboard had bailed out over the Libyan
desert 442 miles past their base. But they had disappeared while
attempting to walk northward back to civilization. Intensive searches
were made for clues as to the fate of the crew. In 1960 the remains
of eight were found, one near the plane and the other seven far
to the north. Five had trekked 78 miles across the torturing sand
and heat before perishing and one had gone an amazing 109
miles in the blistering daytime 135 degree desert temperatures.
In addition, they had lived eight days rather than only two or
three expected of men in this area with little or no water. The
body of the ninth man was never found.
There is a powerful
spiritual lesson we can draw from the sacrifice of the lives of
these men. As Christians, we are all "flying our way through
life." And we all have something very special to direct and
guide us regardless of the outside circumstances, darkness, or
confusion that has seemed to surround us at times. This special
instrument that we have and should always trust is the Word of
God. It will never lead us astray, deceive us, or fail. It always
points to the way we should go, and it will not only take care
of us in this life but also lead us safely home to Heaven
someday if we do not stop following its directions.
However, we must
give this "special instrument of guidance" our continued
attention. We must always trust its instructions and change course
whenever it points out we are not in line with its readings. We
should never wander on, hoping that somehow we can find our way
better than our "special direction finder" is telling
us. And even if a man or woman is not reading their Bible on a
regular basis, God will go the extra mile to try to rescue them
by having preachers and teachers give messages from the Word through
various avenues and media.
2:1 says, "Therefore we must give the more earnest
heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away."
Too many Christian have "drifted away" from their faith
and the instructions of the Bible. The "school of hard-knocks"
and the "heat from the problems of life" will drive
many back to what they once knew was true, but unfortunately many
will "perish in the wilderness" of life without ongoing
obedience to God.
16:25 says, "There is a way that seems right to
a man, but in the end it leads to death." We should
not trust what seems best to our senses. The Bible teaches us
right from wrong, but the world tries to imply that our instructions
from the Bible are too narrow. Our modern culture is full of situational
ethics, excuses to sin, and "political correctness"
that says anything is correct except for applied Christianity.
But Jesus affirmed the narrow view is the correct view. "Enter
by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way
that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads
to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew
Sometimes other people
try to persuade us to "not trust our instruments." Sometimes
it is peer pressure, sometimes it is false doctrine, sometimes
it is just simple temptation to sin. But these temptations to
do or believe something that is wrong are all just opportunities
to get off course. And I have read that if you are flying a distance
of 3,000 miles, being off course just one degree will cause you
to miss your target by almost 30 miles! Satan doesn't have to
get everyone to fall for "big disobedience" because
Song of Solomon
2:15 says it is "the little foxes that ruin
In reality, the devil
often pressures people to change, compromise, back off, or otherwise
yield in the direction they are going for God. If he can get us
to just change one degree from what God wants for our lives, we
will feel we are getting farther and farther from God as time
goes on. This is one reason that explains why many people have
felt so distant in their relationship with God. They compromised
years ago, and now the "distance" is growing more and
more significant and they can feel it. The voice of God
seems fainter and fainter.
If people discover
that they have "over-shot" the target of living their
daily life according to the Bible and God's will, they should
do everything possible to try to get back to the safety of obedience
to the Word. The Spirit of God will never lead contrary to the
written Word of God. No amount of perseverance is too much to
try to get back to where we need to be. What we stand to gain
or lose is too great. And we can get back all things are
possible with God.
I want to encourage
you to keep studying and trusting God's Word. It will never fail
40:8). It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews
6:18), and God never fails (Zephaniah
3:5). So be encouraged and keep studying and following
Staying on Course,