1 John 4:17 - By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as He is so also are we in this world.
If you've ever ridden on a roller-coaster, you'll remember that moment when you reach the top and then, almost instantaneously the bottom drops out, you go airborne, and your stomach is in your throat. Under the closed conditions of a roller-coaster, that can be pretty exciting.
But it's not so much fun if it happens unexpectedly and you're in an airplane.
That's what happened to the folks on Indonesia's AirAsia Flight QZ535. While traveling from Australia to Bali, their plane suddenly lost air pressure. The passengers' oxygen masks dropped down as the plane, very quickly, took a 24,000-foot drop in altitude. That's a roller-coaster, gut-wrenching drop of more than four miles in about nine minutes.
Now I would love to tell you that the crew on the flight managed to bring calm to the troubled passengers. I would love to tell you that, but I can't. Nobody can.
The people on the flight report the staff was, screaming, crying, and looked shocked. One of them ran down the aisle yelling, "Emergency! Brace! Crash positions!"
Now, please don't think that everyone lost it and became unglued. Chris Jeanes was a passenger who had planned to propose to his girlfriend, Casey, when they got to Bali. But since it looked like they might not make it to Bali, he proposed as the plane was doing its nosedive.
Casey said, "Yes!"
And for those of you who have a questioning bent of mind, I can tell you, when they were out of danger, Jeanes proposed a second time, and Casey still said "Yes!"
So, my friends, what have we learned from this AirAsia flight?
Hearing the reports and watching the video of what happened, I came away with this:
1. Some people are ready to die.
2. Some people are not ready to die.
In this particular case, the folks whom I would expect might be ready, that is the plane's staff, didn't seem to have been prepared at all. At the same time, other folks, like the lovebirds Chris and Casey were calm enough to move forward with their plans. If their time together was going to be short, they were determined to enjoy it as much as they could.
In some ways, they remind me of Luther who once was asked, "What would you do if you knew you had only 24 hours before judgment?"
Luther supposedly said, "I'd keep planting this tree."
Luther knew that when a person has been washed of his sins in the Savior's precious blood, no longer can he be accused when he stands before the divine Judge's bench. Because the Christ has fulfilled the Law and died our death, on that day the only verdict we shall hear is one which says, "Not guilty!"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am a miserable sinner but because of Jesus I am a forgiven sinner. May I rejoice in the salvation He has given and do all I can to reach out to others who still wander in the darkness where fear rules hearts and minds. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by the AP and carried by NBC news on October 16, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries