Admitting We're Wrong


"and prayed: "O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens." - Ezra 9:6

On September 3, 1989, Varig Airlines Flight 254 was at Brazil's Maraba Airport preparing for takeoff. Under normal circumstances the short flight to nearby Belém Airport would only take 48 minutes.

Captain Cézar Garcez consulted a computer-generated flight plan and read the number 027 which corresponded to the magnetic heading from Maraba to Belém. But Garcez was distracted while listening to a World Cup Soccer Championship game and inadvertently dialed 270 into the Horizontal Situation Indicator.

Minutes later, flight 254 took off and climbed to an altitude of 29,000 feet. Instead of heading northeast toward the Brazilian coastline and the city of Belém, the plane turned west and headed straight toward the Amazon forest.

Captain Garcez sensed something was wrong. At this point in the flight plan he expected to be able to have visual contact with the Belém airport. Despite not knowing where he was, Captain Garcez informed the Varig flight coordinator on the ground he estimated the plane would be landing in Belém in five minutes.

At 7:39 p.m., when the flight was 68 minutes overdue, the first officer identified the problem and started to explain to the captain his mistake. But the captain dismissed his explanation. Refusing to ask for help, he began counting the minutes until the plane would run out of fuel. All the while he searched the ground hoping to find an airport where he could land the plane.

About an hour later, out of fuel, Garcez made a remarkable crash-landing in total darkness in a dense tropical forest. The plane was 700 miles from the intended destination. Although all six of the crew survived, 13 of the 48 passengers were killed. Both Captain Garcez and the first officer had their commercial licenses revoked. They never flew again.

Sin blinds us to our need that we need Christ to lead us. It is only when we confess we are lost that the Lord can safely lead us. Today in prayer, look to the Lord and confess any sin in your life and receive the forgiveness that only Christ can give.

"You cannot repent too soon because you do not know how soon it may be too late." - Thomas Fuller

God's Word: "Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"--and you forgave the guilt of my sin." - Psalm 32:5

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2005, Devotional E-Mail DEVOTIONS IN EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER [email protected]

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