Running certainly has its hazards, but never has aircraft been one of them. But, that is exactly what caused the death of Robert Gary Jones who was running on the beach on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The 38-year-old husband who was the father of two apparently never heard the single-engine plane, which had lost its propeller, as it made an emergency landing on the beach. The pilot had engine troubles and was trying to get to the Hilton Head airport. The coroner’s office said that this type of plane, an Experimental Lancair IV-P, is so quiet that Jones might not have heard it even without his earphones on (news information via WTOC.com).
Whenever such a random, tragic act occurs, we are baffled. It certainly points out that life could not be more uncertain and we cannot possibly anticipate the future (cf. Jas. 4:13). We might be tempted to wonder what this man did wrong to die such an unlikely death. Jones may have been an evil man, but he could just as easily have been an upstanding citizen and model husband and father.
Jesus warns against such thinking that would see this as an act of divine judgment or punishment. Luke 13:1-5 says, “Now on the same occasion, there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them,’ Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’”
His message is universal in scope. Everybody has the same individual responsibility. We must live holy lives, repenting of the sin in our lives. We may suffer some terrible earthly tragedy that is in no way brought on by our own sinfulness. In a fallen world, these kinds of things occasionally happen. Our task is to live ready for eternity in every moment!