by Ainsley Gaebler

“Jesus, take the controls”

The recent response of a Southwest Airlines pilot to imminent disaster, is a lesson to us all.

damaged engine
Investigators examine damage to the engine belonging to Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 that separated during flight on April 17, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Investigators can’t explain with certainty why the engine malfunctioned but are directing their attention to metal fatigue on fan blades. One woman died due to the incident. (Photo Keith Holloway/National Transportation Safety Board via Getty Images)
damaged engine
Investigators examine damage to the engine belonging to Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 that separated during flight on April 17, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Investigators can’t explain with certainty why the engine malfunctioned but are directing their attention to metal fatigue on fan blades. One woman died due to the incident. (Photo Keith Holloway/National Transportation Safety Board via Getty Images)

Recently, the story of a Southwest pilot having to make an emergency landing amid engine failure has made world headlines.

On April 17th, Tammie Jo Shults, an ex-military pilot, safely guided the damaged aircraft to the ground after one of the plane's engines blew up, sending shrapnel straight through a window. One passenger was partially sucked out of the broken window but was rescued and pulled back in, unfortunately dying later that day, while seven others sustained minor injuries.

Tammie Jo was hailed a hero by surviving passengers for her calm and level-headed response to the situation, which resulted in her saving the lives of the 149 people who were on board.

However, the former Navy fighter pilot shares that she was not alone in that moment of crisis.

"My biggest goal amid the emergency landing and subsequent media coverage is that I can share my faith and it can resonate and awaken people's eyes to how great a God we have," Tammie Jo shares. "I just want people to know that, the entire time, He was there with me, that He helped me to get in control of that plane."

Tammie Jo is a Christian, active in her church and married to a fellow pilot with whom she has two children. She says that sitting in the captain's chair gives her "the opportunity to share about Christ on almost every flight."

Her journey into aviation was not easy and she had to overcome many obstacles in a male-dominated environment, eventually becoming one of the first women fighter pilots in the US military. But Tammie Jo's commitment to excel in what she does has granted her a national platform by which she can share her faith in Jesus.

"[That safe landing] was because of God, not me. I was just a teammate and a co-captain. God was the captain," she stated later.

“The
entire
time,
Jesus
was
there
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me”
This story made me stop and think about how many people are really willing to let God be the "captain" of their lives. We feel like we have a right to govern and dictate the course of our own lives, especially in modern society where ideas of independence and equal rights are strongly promoted. We want to live how we please, regardless of the consequences, because we think there is no one to answer to.

Tammie Jo Shults
Southwest Airlines Captain Tammie Jo Shults, who was the pilot of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 which experienced engine failure between New York and Dallas in April, during a meeting with US President Donald Trump and crew members and passengers of the flight in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, May 1, 2018. (Photo Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

But the fact is, even when we think we are calling the shots in our lives, we are really powerless to control situations, other people, the weather or even, many times, our own emotions. We pretend we are self-determining but really we are dependent on God for our every breath and every heartbeat.

Many people can testify to the relief and honesty there is in acknowledging their dependency on God and placing the reins of their life in His hands.

When a person first becomes a Christian, they have to be willing to turn everything over to God and make Him their Lord. When they do that, they can enjoy the peace and security of knowing that God is with them always and that He has everything under control.

Of course, becoming a believer in Jesus does not mean that you no longer make mistakes. We are all sinners, but turning away from our sin is the best thing about being a Christian. You can ask the Lord and others that you may have hurt for forgiveness and know that once you have been forgiven, your slate is wiped clean and you can start afresh.

Many a life has gone awry because it was not lived in submission and obedience to God. So, just as Tammie Jo turned over the controls of that plane to Him, let us, also, turn over the steering wheel of our lives to God. It is a great comfort to know that, in times of trouble, we don't have to be brave or invincible, because our God is mighty to save.

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