How to Identify and Avoid a Plane Crash
As the husband of a flight attendant who spends 90 hours a month (not to mention the countless hours in airports, on layovers, and commuting) in the air, I was especially tuned-in when Men in the Arena Podcast guest Jerry Schemmel spoke. Jerry was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 232 from Denver to Chicago on July 19, 1989, when the DC-10 he was on suffered the failure of its tail-mounted engine, leading to the loss of all flight controls and crash landing that killed 111 of the 296 people on board.
On our podcast, Jerry shares the painful loss of his best friend and traveling partner and the life-changing lessons he learned that fateful day. Specifically, he details how he helps men avoid plane crashes in their lives.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Planes, trains, and automobiles wouldn’t be invented for nearly two thousand years, but ships had been around for centuries. If Paul wrote 1 Timothy 1:18-20 today, he might have used a plane crash analogy instead of a shipwreck. Who knows? Instead, he warns Timothy against a looming shipwreck, naming two real men who experienced real shipwrecks of faith:
This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck regarding their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.
Speaking with pilots, I was slightly alarmed to learn that there is no such thing as landing an airplane. I am told it is more like a “controlled crash.”
How about you? Is it only a matter of time before the world sees your wreckage? The addiction you are hiding. The emotional affair you are denying. The sordid adulterous rendezvous that is getting hotter. The marriage that is months away from ending. The job you are barely hanging on to. The health issues you have ignored for decades. The hearts of the children you are neglecting.
Shanna gets annoyed when passengers ignore flight attendants during the safety demonstration. Maybe it is because they are already buckled when instructed on how to put on the buckle! But there is one important life lesson during every safety demonstration, “Put your oxygen mask on before you help anyone else.”
In other words, you can’t help others if you need help. For men, when you get it right—everyone close to you gets it right. Here are some simple steps to help you avoid a plane crash.
Safety Check #4 (Galatians 5:13-14): Steward your life. A candle never loses its flame when it lights another candle. It only produces more light and heat.
Jerry Schemmel’s story is not only about survival but saving the life of a precious infant. When we give our lives to others in Christian service, we discover the life we’ve always dreamt of. Life is not about you. It is about giving it away to others.
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