Sermon Illustrations


Sam Cathey became a Southern Baptist evangelist in 1967. That first year, he had to rush back from a revival, because his daughter had gone in the hospital with acute appendicitis. They thought it might be ruptured.

Sam got on a plane in Los Angeles about 2:30 in the morning, headed home to Detroit. He was overwhelmed with doubts and fears. Sam’s seat was right behind first class, and he could see through the curtain that no one was up there. So, he asked the stewardess if he could go up there to get some rest. She turned him down, because it was against the rules, and they didn’t have a stewardess up there.

But just as she walked away, another stewardess walked through those curtains. This one invited him to come up front and sit with her. She brought him a sandwich, olives, chips and a coke. Then they sat facing each other, as she began to talk. She went on and on about the Lord, Scripture and grace. She talked to Sam about God’s sovereignty, His love, care and protection.

Sam just listened, never even mentioning the problem with his sick daughter, Nola. When they passed over Chicago, she stood and said, “See all of those lights down there? Put your hands like so,” and Sam cupped his hands. Then she held them out and said, “See, from way up here, it looks like you cover up the whole city of Chicago, doesn’t it?” Sam agreed.

“Now cup them like so.” Sam did, and she said, “From up here, it looks like you’ve got the whole city of Chicago in your hands, doesn’t it?” Again he agreed. Then she put her hand on his shoulder and said, “Man of God, Nola will be all right.” She wheeled around and went through the curtains into coach.

Sam never saw her again. And the first stewardess thought he had been dreaming until he showed her the left-over food in first class. When he got off the plane, his wife was grinning ear to ear. The hospital had just called. Nola’s fever had broken and she was perfectly well.

God wanted Sam to see that He’s got the whole world in His Hands. God is big enough to take care of His universe, and He is big enough to take care of you.

(Adapted from story told by Sam Cathy in “SBC Life” Monthly Magazine. Sam was pastor of Graceway Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, when this story was written in Summer, 1993.)

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