What a Miracle Looks Like


Yesterday God sent us a reminder, a reminder of what’s truly important. On the same path as the planes of 9/11, he reminded us yet again: It’s about family. And that’s really pretty much it. He reminded us that miracles happen. He reminded us that when everything is stacked against us, we can make it. Even coming at a dirty and grungy and mob body-filled water, you can survive.”

Condensed from the desk of Glenn Beck

GLENN: Let me ask you this: What is a miracle? Is God a respecter of men? Does God answer prayers? Does God change the rules of the universe? What is a miracle?

I think what we witnessed yesterday was a miracle. I don’t know if you have looked and put all of the string of coincidence together. I mean, here’s a group of people that get together, they hear a large bang. Put yourself in this seat. You hear a large bang, you look out the window, you see the engine flame out, and what goes through your mind right then? Have you ever been on a plane where you think — where you just hit bad turbulence? I’ve been white knuckle, just holy cow, we’re not going to make it. What are you thinking when the pilot gets on the speaker and says, “Brace for a rough landing”? What are you thinking when they say, “Underneath your seat is a flotation device.” What are you thinking? Are you looking out the window? Are you looking out and seeing that eye level you are right — you are looking possibly at people like me looking right at you out the window. Do you see the Hudson River getting bigger and bigger, the ice that’s in it and you know possibly “I can’t swim.” If we do get out, how long can I last in that water? What is the pilot thinking as he’s heading towards the George Washington bridge, the exact same route that was taken by the 9/11 hijackers? You don’t fly over the George Washington bridge. You don’t fly over the Hudson. This is the route — the last time a 727 took this route, they ended in the World Trade Center. What were the people on the bridge thinking as they saw this plane slowly lumber 900 feet over the George Washington bridge? Probably the same thing I was thinking when I arrived in my office. What was the pilot thinking, knowing that his engines weren’t working, wondering can I get my plane over the bridge? What was he thinking when he could see in the sky the Hudson or Teterboro, which is an airport in New Jersey? They were equal distance from each other. Did he choose, “I’m going to land this in the water because if I land it in the water and we crash or if I can’t make it, it only kills us. If I try to make it to Teterboro and something happens, I crash into a mass of humanity. Was that what he was thinking? What was he thinking when he passed the bridge and he got over it and he looked down the Hudson and there weren’t any boats on the Hudson? If you’re anywhere near New York or if you’re a pilot and you see the Hudson, you fly over it and you see it, there are always tugboats, there are always barges, it’s always full of boats. Was he wondering before he could see the Hudson how many people will I kill on boats? What was everybody thinking when they hit the water, at a speed, it was like hitting dry ground? As you feel the jolt shoot through your body from your feet to your head? What were you thinking as your body pulls up against that seat belt and yet your body is flexible enough that you hit your head on the luggage compartment? What goes through your mind when you believe you’re going to die? I can tell you I don’t think that you were thinking about your political party. You weren’t thinking whether you were from a red state or a blue state. “Oh, gee, if I just would have finished that project at work.” “Oh, gosh. Well, thank goodness it’s over because I’ve lost my job.” I doubt you were thinking, “Oh, jeez, well, this will be blessed relief because I’ve got so many other problems and the world seems to be melting down.” I dare say even Al Gore wouldn’t have been thinking, “Oh, jeez, but who’s going to fight global warming.” You are not thinking about Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Yesterday God sent us a reminder, a reminder of what’s truly important. On the same path as the planes of 9/11, he reminded us yet again: It’s about family. And that’s really pretty much it. He reminded us that miracles happen. He reminded us that when everything is stacked against us, we can make it. Even coming at a dirty and grungy and mob body-filled water, you can survive.

Both engines blown out, hydraulic system on the plane impacted. The pilot makes that thing a lumbering giant, and he had no hydraulics and he’s trying to hold on, he and the copilot. They missed the George Washington bridge by 900 feet. A plane falling from the sky, and everybody represented, from the 9-month-old baby to the 85-year-old grandma.

What was the string of coincidence, what was the string of coincidence? There were no boats or tugs. Why? Because it was cold. Just a few blocks up from the George Washington bridge, the river had just been closed. So there weren’t any boats per se. That waterway is always full of tugboats and cargo ships. There was nothing, except ferries. You could land that plane anywhere. That plane came to a stop right by the Intrepid, which happens to be right by the ferry docks. There happened to be a ferry right there just about where the plane came to a dead stop. The ferry, all they had to do was just release the lifeboats and push them over.

It’s been 45 years since a plane landed on the water and everyone survived. 45 years. I don’t even listen to “Your seat can be used as a flotation device.” Just slam into the water because you are all going to flip and die. I’ll never say that again.

By the way, something else that was highly unusual. This pilot is not only somebody who teaches safety, who teaches emergency landing, not only has air hours like crazy, not only is a fighter pilot but he is one of the rare few commercial air pilots that not only have combat experience but also has his glider’s license. I doubt he ever thought he would be gliding an Airbus, but he did.

Even though the water was choppy and white capped and 40 degrees and 18 degrees outside, somehow or another he landed it perfectly what are the odds that that happened? What are the odds that they hit a flock of geese, in fact not one but two, so big that it actually showed up on radar.

God is not a respecter of men. He loves all of us, no matter what we do, equally. We just have to be prepared. He asks us, be prepared. He asks us, pay attention. He asks us to do the right things. He asks us to think of others.

You could choose to look at this as just a, “Wow, what a lucky break these guys had, huh?” Or you could experience the miracle of seeing a wake-up call, of seeing a message being sent.

Sure, an engine can take one bird, an engine can take two birds, but an engine can’t take a flock, and an engine certainly can’t take two flocks. It’s very rare to experience something like this. It was almost, for a plane, the perfect storm. And there were the odds, but the people were prepared, they did the right thing, and they brought it down. And everybody got off the plane safely.

God didn’t change the world. God didn’t change physics. He didn’t freeze the water to stop the boats. He didn’t lift it up with his hand and defy physics. Miracles aren’t like that. That’s why people don’t believe in them anymore. Miracles really are a change in perspective. My perspective on this plane crash is that, look at how many things went right. My perspective was, thank goodness we had somebody who in a state of emergency didn’t panic, didn’t do anything but his job.

By the way, Sully, as he’s known, the pilot, he was spotted at the airport last night a few hours after the crash. He was dry, he was back in captain’s clothes cleanly pressed. He had his captain’s hat on. He sat alone in a coffee shop. The people who saw him said, aren’t you… he said yes. He went back to minding his own business. They said that he looked like he was just finishing up another ordinary day.



  1. { Lisa } said,

    January 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Until now this was just another bad story on the news to me…thanks for changing my perspective. this truly was a miracle. IMHO no such thing as coincidence:)

  2. Euripides said,

    January 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    This is a big miracle. It’s a shame most people miss the little miracles that happen all the time.

  3. January 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I don’t think there’s any way of distinguishing between a miracle and an extremely rare natural occurence.

    How would you know the difference?

  4. beetlebabee said,

    January 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Paul, Perhaps it is in the perspective, or perhaps it is in the fact that these things happen more often than rare natural occurrence. What do you think?

  5. Raytmimer said,

    January 21, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I believe in miracles. I think this was definitely one of them, and I bet most people on that plane would agree. What a blessing.

  6. Allia M. said,

    January 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I watched this whole thing go down on the coastguard cam they had running. It was amazing that he didn’t hit any of the boats, and yet they were so close that they just chugged over and started rescuing people within a minute or two. It was just amazing. It would take pure chutzpah to disregard divine intervention in something like this. Surely, what are the odds? So many things could have gone horribly wrong.

  7. Raytmimer said,

    January 21, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Allia, I agree, did you see the news coverage? I can’t remember which channel I was watching, but they played footage from other planes that had tried to land on rivers and it was incredible. They flipped end over end like matchbox cars off a speedway. You know, they started off smooth, but the first turbulence in the water that tripped them up and they’d just go head over heels. I can’t even imagine what those planes looked like inside after that. To have everyone on this plane survive, that’s just incredible. Wasn’t there like one guy with a broken leg and that’s it? Incredible.

  8. rubyeliot said,

    January 21, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    so gorgeous. i’d like to meet that captain.

  9. beetlebabee said,

    January 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm


  10. Pearl said,

    January 21, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    What a wonderful miracle. I’m sure the survivors, blessed to see their families again, see it as miraculous rather than lucky.

  11. mommyspy said,

    January 21, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    There’s an old story that comes to mind. ( this is mostly for Paul) A construction guy is working up on a 3rd story roof and looses his footing… starts to slide towards the edge. As he struggles to get a grip on something, he desperately prays “Oh God, help me because this fall will kill me”. Suddenly, his jacket catches on a nail and he is able to stop himself in the nick of time. “Never mind, God… I’ve got it !”

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