“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”                                                                                                                                             Psalm 46:1

No doubt you all have heard the news report of this tragic airplane crash in San Francisco, California.  Federal Investigators said  that the “Doomed Asiana Airliner a Boeing 777 had it’s throttles set to idle and was moving so slow that it nearly stalled before it smashed into a seawall bordering  a San Francisco International Airport runway.  The flight originated in Shanghai; most of the passengers  were Chinese, Korean, and U.S. citizens.   The crash killed Ye Meng Yuan and Wang Lin Jia, both 16 years old who were on their way to a Summer Camp in the U.S.”

Amidst  all the details in coming months as the NTSB studies what exactly happened, there was the human element of some very brave heroes who endangered their own lives for the sake of others.  I was especially taken by a 40 year old Lead Flight Attendant    The Cabin Manager,  Lee Hoon-hye  described several dramatic moments in the remarkable evacuation that saved 305 of the 307 people on the plane that crashed Saturday while landing in San Francisco.

One flight attendant put a scared elementary schoolboy on her back and slid down a slide, said Lee, in the first comments by a crew member since the crash of the Boeing 777.

A pilot helped another injured flight attendant off the plane after the passengers escaped. Lee herself worked to put out fires and usher passengers to safety despite a broken tailbone that kept her standing throughout a news briefing with mostly South Korean reporters at a San Francisco hotel.. She said she “didn’t know how badly she was hurt until a doctor at a San Francisco Hospital later treated her.”

Lee, , who has nearly 20 years’ experience with Asiana, said she knew seconds before impact that something was wrong with the plane.

“Right before touchdown, I felt like the plane was trying to take off. I was thinking, ‘What’s happening?’ and then I felt a bang,” Lee said. “That bang felt harder than a normal landing. It was a very big shock. Afterward, there was another shock and the plane swayed to the right and to the left.”

Lee said that after the captain ordered an evacuation, she knew what to do. “I wasn’t really thinking, but my body started carrying out the steps needed for an evacuation, I was only thinking about rescuing the next passenger.”

When she  saw that the plane was burning after the crash, she was calm. “I was only thinking that I should put it out quickly. I didn’t have time to feel that this fire was going to hurt me,” she said.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”    

305 of the 307 passengers lived to talk about it.  I amazed and awed that this plane crash could have been much worse, and yet God protected and preserved all these people for maybe one more opportunity to look up and thank God for what could have, but didn’t happen.  They live to tell their families and friends how ‘lucky’ they were, and yet maybe this kind of tragedy in their lives could be the one that opens their eyes to see just how narrow of a line a person without knowledge of God and His salvation plan through Jesus Christ really is.

The flight attendant Lee, how incredible of a testimony she could have; even though she was slammed and pinned in between the escape shoot, managed to struggle free, not knowing she had a broken tail bone, and yet God enabled her, and caused her to persevere to see 305 passengers make it out alive.    Truly, whether she knew or not, God was her “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”.

I remember back when I was 18 years old, and was hiking to the top of one of the San Gabriel Mountains when a friend and I witnessed a Mid-Air collision of a Passenger jet Dc-9 with about 165 aboard that collided with a Military F-4 Phantom Jet.  I just happened to be looking directly at it as I was at a level of 2,200 feet. I watched as, out of nowhere came this Military Jet that slammed right into the jetliner.  I couldn’t believe what I was watching.  As the plane caught fire and slowly descended down into the canyons, I heard the horrendous sound of it striking the ground.

Like Lee, I began to run on the fire roads towards the crash site.  As I arrived, there was no one there yet, not even helicopters.  I scrambled down the steep terrain missing a few rattlesnakes to the base of the canyon where the plane settled.  Without going into any details, I can tell you it was quite an eery scene.   Sadly, I was unable to find anyone  alive.

The thoughts of what I had seen and experienced have lingered in my thoughts, and especially for all the people that perished that afternoon. Unlike this tragic crash, losing two young lives, 305 made it, to live another day, and have another opportunity to stop and think, just how precious this life God has given us is.   One by one, we all have had an opportunity to tell someone about God; that if they were to die today, they could with confidence hold on to His promise in today’s Scripture.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”        

                                                                                                                                    Psalm 46:1

Sometimes it takes a situation where we are in a troubled situation, feeling overwhelmed, not able to do anything, and yet, like Lee, she was able to overcome the obvious peril and shock of what was going on, despite her own medical need, she stood courageously, held up by a power she may or may not have known; that God was there, He gave her the strength, and she was able to help others out of a burning plane to safety, to a refuge.   305 lives saved, Praise the Lord!   There are many of these who are in critical condition, still facing the ‘trouble’ in their lives.

I don’t know about you, but once again it has led me to pray for people I don’t even know.  And yet, isn’t it like God, to take a tragic accident like this, and give us the opportunity to pray for each one, that their eyes might be opened and see the grace of God upon them?   And don’t forget the two that didn’t make it. Their families need God’s strength right about now.  Won’t you join me in prayer for all their souls?  God sent His only begotten Son that by “believing in Him, they may not perish, but have everlasting life”.

Today’s musical Video Encouragement:

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