For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. Hebrews 3:14
On Thursday, September 3, 1987, Henry Dempsey was captain of the Eastern Express commuter flight from Lewiston, Maine, to Boston.
Flying at 4,000 feet, Captain Dempsey heard an unusual noise coming from the rear of the 15-passenger turboprop plane. Dempsey turned the controls over to his second-in-command and went back to check things out. Dempsey made it to the aircraft's tail section when the plane hit one of those air pockets, which makes your stomach think you're on a roller coaster.
The jolt of the plane threw Pilot Dempsey against the rear door of the aircraft.
That's when the aviator discovered the rear door hadn't been secured. Dempsey discovered this when he stumbled against the door and it opened. The stairs of the plane deployed and Dempsey was sucked out. On the instrument panel an emergency light, indicating an open door, started to flash.
The co-pilot radioed the nearest airport and received permission to make an emergency landing. He also asked helicopters be scrambled to make a search -- or a recovery -- of his friend.
The request was unnecessary.
You see, when the door opened, the ladder flipped down and Captain Dempsey caught that rail and held on. Dempsey held on as the plane flew at 200 miles an hour. Dempsey held on when the plane started its descent. Dempsey, with his face less than 12 inches away from the concrete, held on when the plane's wheels made contact with the runway.
Dempsey held on after the rescue workers told him he was safe and could let go. Dempsey found he couldn't. It took 15 minutes for rescuers to pry his hands from that rail.
I guess most of us, put in such a situation, would hold on just as tightly as Dempsey did. In such a situation holding on is the only reasonable, rational, thing to do. Not just when you're being sucked out of an airplane, but anytime your life is in danger, you should hold on.
Now I would imagine, since you are reading a Daily Devo, you know that the smartest thing anyone can do in this world is hold on to the Savior. Yes, you know that, but there are many around us who do not.
Some think they can hold on to their own smarts, their own skills, their own strength in times of trouble. There are others who think there is no point in trying to hold on to anyone or anything. For them, life is lived and then it's over.
As for me and my house, we will hold on to the Lord. Scripture teaches, and we have seen, that the Lord who lived and died to save us, who rose to assure us of our own place in heaven, is the One Person who will not let us down.
We hold on to Him because it's the only thing to do.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, send Your Holy Spirit so the world may see the love and power of the Redeemer. Grant it may hold on to Him today and every day. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries