Dan Harrison was one of two passengers on a Cessna single engine plane, returning from a fishing trip to the Bahamas. The pilot informed the two that he wasn’t feeling well, then passed out. Harrison, who had no flying experience, quickly moved forward to the cockpit. The plane was in a nosedive heading toward the ocean. Harrison leaned over the non-responsive pilot and pulled up on the stick. He and the other passenger moved the pilot to the back and Harrison sat in the pilot’s seat.
He grabbed a headset and called out to the tower. A flight controller, who also happened to be a part-time flight instructor, gave Harrison step-by-step instructions. Amazingly, Harrison landed the plane on the airport runway without incident!
Once the plane safely came to a stop Harrison said he gave a “thankful prayer for the safety and everything that had happened. But the last part of the prayer and the strongest part was for the guy in the back because I knew it was not a good situation.” Along with the miracle of the plane landing safely was the miraculous recovery of the pilot, the doctor stating that 50% of patients with such a heart condition never make it to the hospital and of those who do 50% don’t survive the next 24 hours.
When Harrison was asked how he managed to stay so calm and focused, he said, “God.” He added, “The hand of God was on that plane… there’s no other explanation for it.”
Most of us are like Harrison in that we can’t fly a plane either. He said in an interview that he had often wondered what would happen if he were on a small plane and the pilot was incapacitated. He found out! Most of us don’t want to find out if we could land a plane or not. We want to leave the flying to a healthy pilot.
Flying a plane is complicated, but so is navigating life in general. Why do we think we can make it through life without someone there with us talking us through it, leading us through it, when we wouldn’t think of trying to fly a plane by ourselves? Life’s far more complex than any plane.
The air traffic controller guided Harrison. God wants to do this for us, help us navigate through the complexities and difficulties of life, on His flight path for us, the best of all paths. The question is, will we let Him?
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:5)