I recently went to see the movie Sully and really liked it. Perhaps, because of his ties to Denison, I am biased as are most of us who live in Texoma. Putting that aside, I think I would have liked the movie anyway. Sully comes across as a prepared, honest, hard-working, honorable character, and the story is just a feel-good tale of how people worked together to turn what could have been a disastrous tragedy into an inspiring story of preparedness and heroism.
I particularly noted that whenever the event was referred to as a "crash", Sully would offer correction calling the event a "controlled water landing." Two very different perspectives on the same event. One perspective seeing the event as only an accident destined to end badly. The other perspective seeing it as a heroic response to an unforeseeable and unfortunate turn of events.
Sully's response reminded me that perspective matters.
I suppose that none of us will ever be put in the exact same situation Sully faced, but, truth be told, many of us find ourselves in similar albeit less dramatic situations. One moment everything is going well then all of a sudden a flock of geese flies into our engines and we start a rapid descent. A critical factor that will determine our outcome is our perspective. Do we see tragedies, misfortunes, unforeseen events solely as accidents inevitably resulting in fatal crashes or will we take control and land safely? Will we see ourselves as victims or will we rise above our circumstances and turn our tragedy into an inspiring story?
One of the most endearing passages in Scripture is Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Among other things, this verse calls us to live life with a unique perspective - that God can take any situation a Christian faces and turn it into something good. Let me note that this passage does not teach that God causes bad things to happen to us but that he is able to take a life that is going down and, instead of the story ending in a crash landing, can turn it into some kind of controlled landing that will inspire us and others.
Sully believed that a crash landing wasn't inevitable. And because of that belief he acted in such a way that turned disaster into heroism.
God can do the same thing in your life. I know because I've seen it over and over in the lives of believers. I've seen dozens of Sully's who have been dealt a bad hand and somehow managed to avoid crash landing. I've seen people who have experienced tragedy, sometimes even of their own making, and allow God to do what he said he could do - work it out for good. It's this very perspective that's often the difference between a crash landing and a controlled landing.
We Christians can live our lives knowing that our God specializes in turning disaster into triumph. How our story ends depends crucially on our perspective. The Miracle on the Hudson is not just Sully's story - it’s the story of everyone who confidently believes that crash landings are not inevitable.