Flight 1282: Did God save lives?

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Did God save lives on Flight 1282?

January 10, 2024 -

This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows a gaping hole where the paneled-over flight door had been at the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Portland, Ore. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP)

This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows a gaping hole where the paneled-over flight door had been at the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Portland, Ore. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP)

This photo released by the National Transportation Safety Board shows a gaping hole where the paneled-over flight door had been at the fuselage plug area of Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Portland, Ore. (National Transportation Safety Board via AP)

When part of an Alaska Airlines fuselage blew out last Friday, no one was sitting next to it.

Was this a miracle?

If so, why did God allow the near-disaster?

More to the point: Will he protect you the next time you travel?

Why Flight 1282’s accident could have been worse

An NTSB official says the accident could have been “much more tragic.” Here’s why:

  • The flight was nearly full, but the seats next to the faulty door plug were unoccupied.
  • The aircraft was still climbing, so passengers were seated with seat belts.
  • If it had been at cruising altitude, people could have been walking around and injured or even sucked out of the hole.
  • A blowout at altitude could have led to oxygen starvation, causing loss of consciousness and even permanent brain damage.

Then there’s the door plug, which could have struck someone on the ground but landed in a Portland science teacher’s backyard instead.

My first thought is to thank God that no one was killed. But my next thought is: If God did in fact save lives on that plane, couldn’t he have prevented the accident?

Because he is omniscient and omnipotent, the answer is clearly yes.

This leads to my big question: Why does God sometimes do what seems best, but not always?

I’ve been praying for a dear friend undergoing cancer surgery. I know God can bring him through and spare his life, but will he? I pray daily for God to protect my family members. I know he can, but will he?

I could go on. So could you.

What you can do now

This is the most difficult issue Christianity faces, so I’ll not attempt a simple “solution” here. Rather, I want to highlight this biblical fact:

When you don’t understand God, you should still trust him.

I know this runs counter to most of life. Would you eat a meal if you don’t trust the chef? Or get in a car if you don’t trust the driver? But God is different:

  • He is omniscient, so we shouldn’t always expect to understand his thoughts (Isaiah 55:8–9).
  • He sees the end from the beginning, so we shouldn’t always expect to understand his plans (Isaiah 46:10).
  • Fallen people misuse our free will, so the consequences of our sins are not God’s fault but ours (James 1:13–15).
  • But “God is love” (1 John 4:8), so we can always know that everything he does is for our ultimate best.

Here’s the bottom line: “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7). The Greek means, “Ask and keep on asking.”

Your prayers don’t inform an omniscient God—they position you to receive what you ask or whatever is best.

What do you need God to do today?

↘️ Going deeper

For more, read “An honest approach to the mystery of suffering” and my book, Making Sense of Suffering, which explores seven biblical and practical responses.

🗞️ More news you should know

📖 Quote for the day

“Suffering is at the very heart of the Christian faith. It is not the only way Christ became like us and redeemed us, but it is one of the main ways we become like him and experience his redemption. And that means that our suffering, despite its painfulness, is also filled with purpose and usefulness.” —Timothy Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering

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