A man who worked as an engineer for a firm that helped design Boeing airplanes had a problem. No one in his team of designers could figure out how to make this one airplane part work properly. In their Seattle area office, the colleagues had pored over blueprints for several months, furiously designing and testing — but the wing part that was the final piece in the puzzle just wouldn’t fit. He headed into the weekend with a frustrated feeling. Why won’t this work? We have solved much more difficult engineering problems before with much less stress and strain. It shouldn’t be this hard!
He spent his weekend the usual way: household chores on Saturday, church on Sunday. But on Sunday night, a realization came to him. He had never prayed about this issue. He had not even thought to pray. At church, his wife sometimes asked for prayer for “traveling mercies” or if someone in the extended family was ill — but prayer for his work? That’s a new thought. But the problem wasn’t going away, and somewhere deep inside him was an inkling that his faith wasn’t just for Sundays… so he decided to give it a try. Then he went to bed, hoping for a good enough sleep to help his foggy mind gain the energy he would need to go at it again on Monday.
How surprised he was when he woke up in the middle of the night with a picture of the needed design perfectly formed in his mind! He fumbled for the light, stumbled out of bed, and raced to grab pencil and paper. In a few short minutes, the airplane part was drawn up with all the needed specifications. The Monday morning commute to work felt fresh for once as today he weathered the traffic with the answer to the engineering team’s dilemma tucked in his pants pocket.
Shortly, the principal designers for the Boeing 787 gathered in the conference room to view the solution he had brought. Sue Jergensen was there and she heard the astonished team’s response. This is the perfect solution! Our whole team has been trying to solve this problem for months– how did you figure it out? His reply, sincere and straightforward, was simply, “God told me.” Of course, they asked him again — such an answer did not satisfy. No, really — how did you figure it out?
Maybe the Master Engineer knew the solution all along and was just waiting to be asked. Maybe our work matters in the grand scheme of things. And maybe, just maybe, smart people like engineers need answers too. Ask and you shall receive.