Things Are True
by Pastor Dan Coburn
I had the privilege of hearing the first hand account of a survivor of one of the worst airline disasters in history. He related, his account of the events of March 27, 1977 where a Dutch airliner (KLM flight 4805) and Pan American flight 1736, both 747s, came together on the runway at a place called Los Rodeos on the north side of the island of Tenerife.
Both were nearing the last legs of what were long flights for both passengers and crew, and both were anxious to be under way, but the smaller airport, language barriers, and most of all the weather, would have something to say about it. The Dutch plane had been instructed to “back-taxi” to the end of the runway, execute a 180 degree turn, and hold for takeoff. The Pan Am jet was to follow the same instructions, but somewhere on the way, was to take an exit, and hold till 4805 had taken off. The fog was such that the traffic controllers admitted they couldn’t see any planes at the time. 1736 missed the exit.
This isn’t to say it was Pan Am’s fault, as the Dutch plane had never received permission to takeoff; but they did. Any way, they had barely left the ground when they struck 1736 which was in the middle of the runway. The Pan Am jet was almost cut in half, and the Dutch plane skidded to a disastrous stop.
Our friend found himself strapped into an open toped inferno. Hundreds were killed, some instantly, some burning, the carnage was unimaginable. But the thing I can’t get out of my head is this. As he looked around, in what he described as slow motion hell, people who were in no doubt the greatest need of their life, helpless, even hopeless, instead of calling on God, were mostly cursing Him. Eyes wide, teeth clenched, cursing God with what they believed would be their last breath. Let’s turn the Spiritual Switch.
In December of the same year, I wrecked my log truck, on icy Highway 14, near Crooked River. As my loaded truck literally swapped ends, and the steering wheel became nothing but a handle, I cried out over and over; “God help me”. I didn’t believe in Jesus at the time, and thought satan was something for horror movies, but I cried out to God for mercy-(un merited favor). Why? The answer is found in the book of Romans, chapter 1, and verses 19-23. Basically it says that God’s creation testifies to His existence, and we are therefore, without excuse.
So why did most of the folks around our friend curse God? The very name of Jesus is a “Stone of Stumbling” to a lost and dying world. We won’t come to Him on His terms, but when something catastrophic happens, we call it what? An act of God. We are free to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, and have a peace about whatever comes our way, or we can reject Him, and live in fear till the end.
I know that at the Battle of Armageddon, when the books are balanced, the blood of the enemies if God will run bridle deep to a horse, so there are evidently a pile of people rejecting Him. “It is appointed to each man, once to die, then the judgement” – Heb. 9:27.
I hope this doesn’t scare you. If it does, rather than ponder the carnage, consider the Great lengths God has gone to in order to provide a way out for you. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”. Romans 10:9 God Bless.