How scary must it have been for those motorists in Taipei who witnessed that Air Asia plane cross the road in front of them, the belly of the aircraft facing them, as it attempted to land in a nearby body of water! And that’s to say nothing of the horror that would have stricken those on the flight. It’s a miracle that anyone survived, yet many did.
The pilot is being hailed as a hero for steering the plane away from buildings. Though he died in the accident, and his feelings will never be known, he will be remembered for his valiant efforts to minimize the carnage.
This story has so many take-aways for us, doesn’t it?
For one, it teaches us the value of being prepared. The pilot will have had to practise, in a simulator, what would happen with that particular type of aircraft when an engine failed (which is what happened in this case). The pilot and crew will have been well trained in what to do in any kind of emergency. Even the passengers will have been advised of what to do (though many airline passengers have their noses in books or newspapers when they should be learning about the location of life vests and when to put on the oxygen mask that magically appears from the ceiling (that’s before aiding someone else!).
Can we ever be fully prepared for such an emergency? Perhaps not; but when it does occur, at least we can reflexively know what to do.
More importantly, I think this incident reminds us that we never really know when our time will come. So often, we put off important tasks, meaningful relationships, even the life of faith, thinking that we will have all the time in the world, when, in reality, our lives can be taken away in a fleeting moment.
Not the greatest news, I know, but it’s true. In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus said in telling the story of the man who was always trying to get more, “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” (Luke 12.20, NIV).
We can’t be sure we’ll have all the time we expect – threescore and ten or otherwise. Being prepared doesn’t just involve emergency preparedness. It also involves setting your life in order – strengthening relationships with those we love, deepening (or just starting) a relationship with God, knowing that our eternal house is prepared for us.
In all likelihood, nobody who got on that Air Asia plane the other day expected not to walk away from that flight on landing. None of us knows, when we rise in the morning, whether we will live to greet another day. Are we ready?
Keep short accounts with those you love, an tell them you love them. Give your life back to the God who gave you life, and trust in Jesus, and his death and resurrection, to secure your place in eternity with him.
Pray for those who lost loved ones in that crash, and for the survivors. And pray for God’s amazing grace to wash over them, and over us.