Sunday, January 25, 2009

Plane Crash Christianity

The passengers on the miracle crash landing of US Airways Flight# 1549 that landed in New York’s Hudson River recently evidently experienced a phenomenon that I’m sure many Christian air travelers have thought about once or twice. The high likelihood that when faced with imminent death, many people will involuntarily lose their veneer of independence from God, and call on His name for…salvation, mercy, miracles, repentance or all of the above. To be certain, many of the people who were on this US Airways flight recalled the praying that took place on that brief flight prior to impact with the river. This was captured by a passenger in this CNN.com news story below:

After he (the pilot) told us prepare for impact, it was pretty evident we were not going to make the runway." At first, it felt like the plane was gliding, Berretta said, as if no engines were working."People started praying, and there was a lot of silence, and the realization that we were going in was really hard to take in at that moment," he said. CNN.com
This illustration is simply a vivid example of an ironclad truth: despite the fact that many people live as if there is no God, intuitively, they know that there is. They know deep down (though many are resistant to admit it) that God controls whether a plane stays in the air or not. He is all powerful. He controls whether they will live or die. As a Christian, I cannot explain God’s reason for saving those people that day, while many others have died in hundreds of plane crashes. Our inability to explain that makes Him no less God. Our all-powerful creator is worthy to be worshipped regardless of our own limitations in explaining His actions. The learned academics would do well to humble themselves and remember this. I wonder if there were any on this flight?

God is a very merciful God who is not willing that any should perish, but that all would have everlasting life through Christ Jesus. The great thing about a near death experience is that it likely brings some into a true permanent worship experience with God through His Son Jesus Christ. Why through Jesus Christ and not just with God alone? Because the Bible is very clear that God will not accept worship any other way: This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. (1 Timothy 2:3-6 NIV)

I’m certain that several of those passengers on US Airways Flight# 1549 became permanent worshippers of God since January 15th, 2009. It is likely they would not have done so at any other time in their lives had this incident not occurred. This may be the reason why God wrote this in the Bible: ...the day of death is better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. (Ecclesiastes 7:1-2 NIV) US Airways Flight 1549 tells us a lot about our human nature, but it tells us even more about a merciful God who will use any means to reconcile us back to Him.

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A God who sends people to Hell?