On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 took off from New York City. The plane was headed for North Carolina, and its trip began uneventfully. But less than three minutes after takeoff, disaster struck.
The plane flew straight through a flock of geese. As you may know, birds and jet engines are not a good combination! The passengers heard loud noises, then saw flames through the windows as both engines stopped.
The copilot tried to get the engines working again, but it was no good. Although the plane was more than half a mile in the air, it couldn’t stay aloft for long. Just five minutes after takeoff, Flight 1549 was falling back to earth with nothing to stop it.
The pilot decided that his passengers’ only hope for survival was to crash-land—what pilots call “ditching”—in the Hudson River. Here’s what happened next.
Show your students the following video [3:53]:
How All Passengers Survived the Miracle on the Hudson
When you hear about a plane crash on the news, you often find out that some of the people aboard—more frequently all of them—died. But in this case, all 155 people on the plane were rescued! That’s why this incident has become known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
- Before you saw the video, how did you expect the story of Flight 1549 to end? (Some of your students may have been hoping for a happy ending. However, many of them will probably acknowledge that they expected a tragic conclusion.)
- What would you say are the key reasons this story ended as a miracle rather than a tragedy? (Answers will vary. Accept reasonable answers, but help students to see that the pilot took quick control of the situation, the flight crew took quick control over the passengers, and the people sitting in the exit rows took quick control over getting the doors unlatched and the slide rafts into position.)
Most of us aren’t facing a plane crash today, but there are always things that seem out of our control.
- What kind of things that you face make you feel out of control? (Answers will vary; be sure you’re prepared to share your own experience if needed to get the conversation going.)
- How do you handle experiences that are out of your control? How do you respond? (Answers will vary.)
Today, we’re going to talk about a really bad situation completely out of Joseph’s control and how God used that to bring about a miracle.
US Airways Flight
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You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
- Letter worksheet printouts (1 per student; template here)
Before class, printout a copy of the letter worksheet template for each student.
A plane crash-landing in the Hudson River is not a good thing. But something good can come out of it: in the case of US Airways Flight 1549, more than 150 people walked away from an accident that could have killed them all!
Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery was not a good thing either. But something good came out of it—God gave Joseph a place in Pharaoh’s palace, then used Joseph to save thousands of lives!
Because God is in control, the same thing can happen in our lives. When bad things happen, God can bring good things out of them!
Hand each student a letter worksheet and a pen or pencil. Because God is in control, He’s able to take a negative event and turn it into something positive. In fact, today’s memory verse promises that if we’re followers of Jesus, that’s exactly what He’ll do!
But that’s a hard truth to remember when we’re hurting. Today, let’s write ourselves a short letter. It will serve as a reminder that we’ve seen God bring good things out of bad things in the past. It will also help remind us that God can do the same thing in the future!
Draw your student’s attention to the letter worksheet you gave them. Point out where they should complete the worksheet by filling in personal information.
First, think about a time when something bad happened to you. Write about that in the first blank area in the letter. Now, remember how God brought good stuff out of the bad stuff, and write that in the second blank area of your letter.
Finally, think about something you’re worried about now—something that might result in a negative outcome. Write that thought in the third designated area of your letter.
God is in control! That’s how He can use even horrible events to do something good. That’s a hard thing to remember sometimes. This week read over your letter each morning as a reminder. After you read, ask God to help you trust Him to bring good out of your worries.
If time allows, ask:
- We all just wrote down a situation in our letters where we need to trust God to bring about something good. Would anyone like to share what you wrote in the third blank? (Talk about what you wrote down first, then invite [do not force] any willing volunteers to join in. Pray for each student who shares, asking God to help his/her trust that He will bring good out of his/her bad situation.)
Not everything in life turns out the way we’re hoping. The passengers on Flight 1549 certainly weren’t hoping to crash. Joseph wasn’t hoping to be sold into slavery. But God can bring good things out of events that seem to be disasters. This week, trust that He’ll do that in your life! Encourage your students to write similar letters this week when unexpected incidents arise that require them to trust that God is in control.
Close in prayer
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