On Christmas Eve in 1971, seventeen-year-old Juliane Koepcke was a passenger on an airliner flying across the vast Peruvian rain forest when the aircraft was struck by lightning. The airliner broke apart 10,000 feet in the air. At the time of the event, Juliane was wearing her seatbelt and remained secured in her seat as she plummeted to Earth. Of the 92 passengers and crew on the ill-fated flight, Juliane was the only survivor. It is believed her landing atop the rainforest canopy was a contributing factor to her survival, but more was at play than just a cushioned landing. One commentator said, “And some people say there is no God!”
As I read the account of this miraculous survival, I thought of some of you whose lives have intersected a tragedy. You are now in a state of free fall feeling like all hope is gone. You are sure you are going to die, but God has another plan. Most people have written you off assuming you will become just another emotional and spiritual statistic. What your detractors did not figure into your situation was the relationship you have with a supernatural God known as your Father.
Your coming landing will not be comfortable and without some injury. Juliane suffered a broken collarbone and cuts and bruises in her ordeal. This is what happens in the tragedies of life. You have been hurt by this situation, but you know those injuries are nothing compared to your survival against unimaginable odds.
When Julaine shared her story, she told her biographers how her father had instructed her to head downstream if she were ever lost in a forest because going downstream would always lead her to civilization. Shortly after the crash, she found a small stream and followed her father’s instruction floating and walking for 9 days downstream until finally coming to a logging camp. Loggers got her into a canoe for the 17-hour canoe trip downriver to medical care. Had she not followed he father’s wisdom she would have died alone in the rainforest and we would have never heard the end of her story. Juliane is still alive today and works as a librarian in Munich, Germany.
Once you experience your landing, follow the instructions your heavenly Father gave you before all of this took place. It will be the key to your survival both emotionally and spiritually. You will survive to live another day because God has promised to never leave you or forsake you.
“I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself” (Exodus 19:4b).