On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia for what everyone expected would be a routine flight. Three minutes into the flight, the aircraft struck a flock of Canadian geese. Losing both of its engines, the pilot and first officer had only moments to decide what to do. Capt. “Sully” Sullenburger, with the utmost calm, managed to land the plane on the Hudson River, allowing every passenger and crewman to safely escape.
This flight - which has come to be known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” - was not miraculous in the traditional sense. The plane was not saved by angels or by a red-caped alien wearing his underwear on the outside. Rather, the “miracle” was the calm, collected and experienced action of a career pilot who had spent a lifetime training to deal with worst-case scenarios. Flight 1549 was saved by the character of its captain.
Paul, while not a pilot or a ship captain, had nonetheless undergone a similar training regimen. He had spent years dealing with catastrophe, danger and uncertainty throughout his travels. His life had been in repeated peril, and over those years he had learned a survival skill that would save his life as surely as hours in a sim saved the lives of Capt. Sullenburger and those under his care: Paul had learned to rely upon God. This faith gave him access to information that proved useful, confidence in giving instructions to the crew, and a sense of peace that enabled him to take command of a situation that was spiraling out of control.
Our current crisis has no doubt revealed to us just how insufficient our spiritual preparations have been. Unlike Paul, many of us have been thrown into disarray as we worry about our health, our families, our finances and the state of the world moving forward.
Like any character trait, faith is strengthened by practice. By placing our trust in God in our daily struggles and discomforts, we slowly but surely learn to trust him even when chaos erupts around us and the sirens are blaring in our ears. As much as COVID-19 has revealed our lack of reliance on God, it is also an opportunity to begin practicing it - turning our concerns and worries over to God, and seeking His peace amidst the storm that surrounds us.
As you speak to God today, talk to Him about whatever is troubling you. Ask for His guidance, and His assurance that even though you are not in control, He is.
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