Sunday, January 18, 2009

Delivered from Death!

A Miracle on the Hudson, that’s what the dramatic emergency landing of a USAirways jet on the Hudson River is being called. MSNBC reports, “An investigation has begun in New York, after a US Airways jet crashed late Thursday afternoon into the Hudson River. Miraculously, authorities say all passengers survived.”

A modern day miracle? Watching one of the passengers retell her story on YouTube, I was convinced she saw it as a miracle.

Have you ever thought you were going to die and didn’t?

I remember the first time that happened to me. I was 17 years old and thought I was invincible. (Or at least I didn’t think I was going to die any time soon.) Until one afternoon…

I was on my way home from somewhere, driving my black 1967 Fiat Sport Coupe. I was going about 30 miles per hour through a residential area on an unfamiliar route. I slowed up as the road turned left, but just as I was coming out of the turn, I saw my street on the right. I made a quick right turn, hitting a slight dip where the two roads met.

The abrupt turn, the speed, the dip, and the centrifugal force all conspired to send my car up onto two wheels. As bad as that was, it got worse. My car stayed on two wheels as if I were a stunt driver who knew what he was doing, but I didn’t.

I looked down to my left where I could now see the curb two or three feet away. While I was deciding what to do… my friend hung on for dear life suspended above me to my right.

Which way would you turn the wheels?

I turned right, away from the curb, but that was a mistake. The car lurched and began to tip over, until I turned the wheel quickly to the left, back towards the curb. That was enough to send the car back onto four wheels.

At this point I pulled over to the right side of the road to gather my wits, as I gasped to my friend, “We could have been killed! We really could have died: right there.” And we could have.

Similar to those aboard the USAirways flight, I understood that God had spared my life. I could have died. Like many who have experienced near-death experiences, I came away with a sense of destiny. I thought, “God spared my life for a purpose. I wonder what it could be?”

Years later I read this in the Psalms: “God is to us a God of deliverances and salvation; and to God the Lord belongs escape from death.”

To this day I thank God that he allowed me to escape from death. I enjoy life. I’ve done some stupid things in life that could have gotten me killed, but didn’t. I wasn’t just lucky, I was spared. It wasn’t luck: it was a miracle, because “…to God the Lord belongs escape from death.”

If you are an escapee, remember to be grateful to God, and to live like you’ve been given another chance, because you have. Just like me.


  1. From "The Natural" (1984)... A memorable quote...

    Iris Gaines: You know, I believe we have two lives.
    Roy Hobbs: How... what do you mean?
    Iris Gaines: The life we learn with and the life we live with after that.

  2. I love this post. I especially love the part about living life like we've been given a second chance. I couldn't agree more.

    In fact, I believe so strongly in living this way that I taught a whole unit on how to find theme in literature with pieces that all had a theme dealing with "carpe diem" (a very interesting theme to discuss with sophomores!)

    You know, in a lot of ways, your post goes hand in hand with mine today... I feel honored to be on a similar wavelength! :)

    P.S. thanks so much for the kind words today.

  3. great post, don.
    that story was riveting. I could picture it play out in my head.

    I once had a moment where I pondered death. It was in Florida in 2005. Without warning, my small town became ground 0 for Hurricane Charley. At first it was fun. The wind, the current rising in the canal in our backyard. But it got scary when we realized rain was falling through a growing hole in our ceiling. The house started rattling. We weren't prepared at all. While my family of 6 - plus two pets - crouched in the laundry room, I pictured that scene from the beginning of Twister where the hatch unhinges and the father is sucked out into the whirlwind.
    That's when I thought "Am I going to die?"
    Funny though, that was also when I knew I'd make it through.

    Those moments are definitely life-sculpting. Thanks for sharing yours.

  4. What an amazing post. Your story had me riveted! I almost died twice driving up to the northern part of the state back in college - with my friend driving because it was her route home! We talk about that to this day. It was God indeed.

    And I really like that Psalm verse, I'd never heard it before. Hearing biblical affirmations is always good for the soul.