Tag Archives: Sullenberger

Captain Sully, a Savior

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)


Holding On to Hope, Holding On to God

hope12Flight 1549 took off normally on January 15, 2009, with Captain Sullenberger and over 150 people on board. The plane was climbing after take-off when it hit a flock of birds, knocking out both engines. The co-pilot was handling the take-off until that moment. Immediately after the birds knocked out the engines, Captain Sullenberger used the proper protocol and said to his co-pilot, “My aircraft.” The co-pilot immediately responded, “Your aircraft.”

What if Captain Sullenberger had glanced at the gauges and said, “It’s hopeless!”? Well, he didn’t do that. In an interview later he said, “I knew I had to solve this problem. . . . I was sure I could do it.” He had flown in the military, had been flying commercial aircraft for many years, and had trained other pilots how to deal with emergency situations. He said, “As it turned out my entire life up to that moment had been a preparation to handle that particular moment.” Captain Sullenberger had hope, and that hope helped to land the plane on the Hudson River without loss of life.

When asked later why this story had so enthralled the public, Captain Sullenberger said, “Something about this episode has captured people’s imagination. . . . I think they want good news. I think they want to be hopeful again.”

Yes, we all need hope! How can we find hope? How can we hold on to hope?

The plane was without power, falling from the sky in a steep glide. The pilot said to the co-pilot, “My aircraft.” The co-pilot responded, “Your aircraft,” and gave control to Captain Sullenberger, who was hopeful that he could land the plane — and it was his hope that put it safely into the Hudson.

We’re in a fallen, and falling, world. God says, in essence, “My world!” He comes to you and me, in the midst of what seems hopeless, and says to each of us, “My life!” What should be our response? “Your life!” That response, of turning our lives and our seemingly hopeless situations over to Him, is what gives us hope! Hold on to hope by holding on to God!

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” (Psalm 62:5)