A Tale of Two Planes

My mother-in-law arrived in England from South Carolina today, so I was watching news of planes more than normal. Of course, my heart skipped a beat to hear that a plane crashed in the US today. As one would expect when one has a relative flying, it turned to relief when I heard that it was a smaller commuter plane and not the transatlantic one that would likely be carrying Kay.

As I watched the reports and read the news stories, I couldn’t help but think that only a few weeks ago we were talking about the ‘miracle’ of the plane landing in the Hudson River and no lives were lost. Today (or last night) the miracle did not happen and all the lives on the plane were lost.

I don’t know what to make of this.

I just couldn’t help making the connections in my head.

I remember something that Bishop Wright pointed out at our class a little over a month ago. He noted that the church in Acts was surely praying for James (the brother of John) just as much as they had Peter. Whilst Peter escaped with the help of an angel, James died by the sword (Acts 12.1-18). Bishop Wright had not explanation for that, either.

Perhaps there is little we can say. We offer thanks to God for the lives saved on the Hudson River, whilst holding in our hearts those who died in Buffalo and reach out to their families.

I would be interested to hear any other thoughts on this.

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2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Planes

  1. The loss of James, the brother of John, so early in the Christian story is a constant reminder to me that I do not and cannot understand our God and Savior – the reminder is especially important when I share with (okay too often tell) people the workings of God. It at times seems so clear what the Bible tells us to do, how to act and what the wonderful outcome will be. But then there is James who was in Jesus’ inter-circle with Peter and John and then too there is unexplained suffering.

    And then there is Bill Griffin, my friend who died of cancer on February 18, 1997. But he should not have died. He did it all right. As far as I could see he lived a life that was as Christlike as I have ever experienced. He had a personal relationship with Jesus, he was humble, he stood in faith that God would heal him; we had a healing service for him; God spoke to me in a very personal way that gave me confidence not only in my faith, but also that He would heal Bill. Bill did it all the right way and we supported him about as good as a group of fledgling believers could. Yet he died.

    So for me, now there is not only the life or death of James that is a puzzle, but there is Bill Griffin.

    I, on the other hand, have had the good life. Things seem to have gone my way. Yes, I have had disappointments, but overwhelmingly I have had it good. And Yes, I have worked hard and at times I believe that I have made my own luck. And I also believe God has blessed me and given me things I have asked for. I can share many unexplained events that I can truthfully say that I believe have to be God who intervened. So why wouldn’t I beleive that God is good and in the “ask and you will receive” philosophy. Yet I know it is not so easy or so clear.

    I am very sure that there were people on the plane that died in the crash that were better than me and prayed harder than me. So the answer is not so much in how good we are or even in how much we pray (yet I do believe praying and learning God’s will for us is a critical part that gives us insight and understanding from and of God).

    A friend of mine was on the plane that crashed in the Hudson River. While I have not yet had a chance to speak with him, I know him well enough to say that he gives the credit and glory to God for saving him.

    So how do we conclude? God blesses you and not me? Or alternatively, God blesses me and not you? To quote Paul, “May it never be.”

    Until Christ returns and brings His world to us, we will never understand it all. I am thankful for the little peices that He has revealed to me. I choose to hang on to His Word. And when there are times where the rules/plans laid out in the Scriptures do not work as they are understood by Michael Grady (me), then I will remember who is God and be thankful that the blessings in this life will be miniscule compared to the blessings awaitng for us in the next one. Maybe those who are shortchanged in this life, will be blessed even more in the next one. BUT then James died and so did Bill Griffin.

    So I will live by faith, not by sight and I will put my trust in my Savior and let Him work it out. And try to grow deeper in understanding and faith.

    And until then, I will say “Miracle on the Hudson – Thank our Mighty God” and to those who we lost in the Buffalo plane tragedy, “May God bless and comfort the families who lost their love ones.”

  2. Dad, thanks for your touching reflection. Luke doesn’t try to explain away what happened and leaves the tension in there. As you say, maybe that’s all we can do is live with the tension for now.

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