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A Fatal Loss of Control

On October 31, 1999, a full airplane took off from JFK International Airport, New York, on a routine flight to Cairo, Egypt. The final report of the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that, a short time after take-off, the relief first officer waited for the pilot to leave the cockpit and then disengaged the autopilot. He proceeded to move the throttle levers from their cruise power setting to idle, cutting the engines. Seconds later, the airplane began to pitch nose-downward and descended into a freefall.

In the final moments before impact, the horrified pilot dashed back to his seat and battled the co-pilot for control of the plane. The pilot pulled back on his controls, desperate to bring the nose of the plunging Boeing 767 up, while the suicidal first officer pushed his own controls forward to keep the jet in its lethal dive. The result was the tragic crash of Egyptair Flight 990 into the Atlantic Ocean south of Nantucket, Massachusetts. It killed all 217 people aboard.

The battle in that airliner's cockpit is a picture of the inner life of a Christian. Each day, we choose either to hijack control of our lives—plunging ourselves into sin—or to remain locked in the direction of God's will.

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