On January 15, 2009, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger successfully landed US Airway flight 1549 in the Hudson River after a flock of geese disabled the aircraft, leaving it without power. All 155 of the crew and passengers survived, thanks to the skill of Captain Sullenberger.
A reunion of crew and passengers was held later at which there was loud applause as Captain Sullenberger and his crew entered the room filled with the passengers of flight 1549. There were many hugs and expressions of deep and profound gratitude for the crew, but especially for Captain Sullenberger. One woman exclaimed, “Thanks for saving my life.”
Those of us who have followed this story admire Captain Sullenberger, but not as much as those passengers and crew saved by his skillful landing of the plane on the Hudson. He is their savior, not ours.
This distinction helps clarify what, for me, is an authentic faith in God. I can believe in God’s existence, that He is all wise, powerful, and good. I can even believe He can be of help to me in life. This, however, is not enough for me to fully embrace a deeply profound relationship with Him. This requires that I am able to say to Him as the passenger did to Captain Sullenberger, “You saved my life.”
Jesus is my Captain Sullenberger, my “miracle on the Hudson” is the “miracle of the cross,” and I have been saved from something far more disastrous than a plane crash. I have been saved from that which would keep me forever from God (my own sin).
Like Captain Sully’s passengers I am overflowing with a deep and profound sense of gratitude toward my Savior. Such gratitude, I’ve discovered, is one of the most important aspects of a deep faith in God. It’s what gives me a deepening love for God, motivates me to serve Him, and gives me the hope of being with Him eternally in His heaven.
Captain Sullenberger told his crew and passengers at the reunion, “We will be joined forever because of January 15th in our hearts and in our minds.” They will never forget that day. I never want to forget that day some 2,000 plus years ago when Christ went to a cross for me so that I can be joined forever with Him. For that event I will be profoundly and eternally grateful!
“I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.” (Psalm 118:21)