The year 1986 started off with the wrong type of bang. You might remember that it was in January of that year that the space shuttle Challenger exploded into smithereens 3 minutes into lift off. I remember my stomach being turned into knots and my eyes consistently on the verge of tears. The reason I'm referencing this event that took place 30 years ago is because of an article I read last week about a man named Bob Ebeling.
Perhaps you know his story. I certainly didn't until I read the article. Mr. Ebeling was an engineer who worked with the Challenger mission team and he warned his supervisors of the impending catastrophe. His warnings fell on deaf ears and for 30 years he has been burdened with guilt and doubt. Rather than recap the article, I decided to provide you with a link to it so that you can read it for yourselves. It is worth the 2 minutes it will take you to click and read.
When I read this story, the familiar knot returned to my stomach and my eyes are on the verge of tearing up as I write this. This time; however, it's because there is redemption in the tragedy. Bob experienced mercy through the encouragement of other's whose lives were transformed by his efforts; not his lack of effort. I'm reminded of St. Paul's gripping 8th chapter of his letter to the Romans where he states:
"And we know that in all things God works for the good for those who love him..."
Sometimes it takes 30 years to see good, God's goodness, coming out of tragedy. As we approach Easter Sunday, we continue to see good come out of the tragedy of the cross, even though the resurrection took place several thousand years ago. I hope that the story of Christ's death and resurrection still brings a knot to your stomach and tears to your eyes. Only God can bring about good out of horrific tragedy.
Prayer for Today
Eternal God, renew in us a trusting faith that you work for good in all things; especially in times when we can't possibly see any good. Through faith in the Resurrected Lord, strengthen our belief in your mercy and your love. Amen.