The cords of the wicked have encircled me, but I have not forgotten Your law.
He had no ambition to become famous. After more than forty years as a pilot, his only ambition was retirement. He was about one year away from that when the unimaginable happened: a complete loss of power while piloting a jetliner over Manhattan. In 210 seconds, the pilot of US Airways flight 1549 had to decide whether he would try to make it to an airport or risk the lives of all 155 people aboard with a hazardous water landing.
Departing on the afternoon of January 15, 2009, from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the plane flew into a flock of Canada geese just two minutes after takeoff. Some of the geese were sucked into the engines. Almost immediately the aircraft began to vibrate and the engines shut down. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger notified the tower that his plane had become a “dead stick” descending at a rapid speed. LaGuardia was out of the question, nor could he make it to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. So Sullenberger decided to ditch in the Hudson River right below him. According to aviation experts, successful water landings are tricky maneuvers. The wings have to be perfectly level, and the angle of entry must be exactly right; otherwise, you could break up the aircraft or plough the nose into what would be like a concrete wall. About ninety seconds before hitting the water, he addressed the passengers: “This is the Captain. Brace for impact.” Passengers described what felt like a gradual controlled descent as if the river were a tarmac. Though the plane made a tremendous splash, it remained intact and afloat, saving everybody on board. Sullenberger has been asked many times what he was thinking during the three and a half minutes that elapsed between his engines cutting out and landing in the Hudson River. His standard answer is that he was not so much thinking as he was acting, going through the proper procedures to solve the problems that immediately confronted him. He said, “My training kicked in.”
As Christians, we have problems in front of us as well. We are under attack from a hostile culture, from Satan, and even from the remnant of our own sin nature. How do we survive? We have been talking about ten survival steps for thriving in this environment. This week we are looking at tip #5: trust your training. Had Sullenberger not been able to rely on his training, he would not have been able to save that aircraft and everyone on board. The same is true for you and me. We have a whole bunch of people who are depending upon us–our mate, our children, our grandchildren, the people we have influenced for Christ. If we allow a crisis to send us crashing, we not only destroy our lives, but we destroy those of everyone around us. It is important that we learn to trust our training. The only way to survive spiritually is to be adequately trained before the crisis hits and then trust our training when the crisis hits.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #5: Trust Your Training” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scott McCartney, “Crash Courses For The Crew,” The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2009, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB123301773654017857.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.