Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Where Was God When Flight 447 Went Down?

Authorities have reported that Air France Flight 447 has crashed in the ocean with 228 on board. Certainly, our hearts and prayers go out for the families of these people, especially since officials do not expect to find survivors

In nearly every disaster, there is someone who was almost killed, but wasn’t. Within the AP article I saw the story of Bernardo Ciriaco who arrived at the airport in a panic because he didn’t know which of the two flights to Paris his brother, Gustavo, was on. A couple hours later, he received a call from Gustavo, telling him that he had arrived safely, but he would have been bumped to Flight 447 if he hadn’t complained.

Anyone who has flown realizes that getting moved from one flight to another is just a normal part of doing business for the airlines. There was no way for the people on either flight to know that moving to the other would either save their lives or put them in danger. So, Bernardo may be saying that God protected his brother, but then we hear studies like that of retired professor Vasdir Ester who has reported that her 40-year-old daughter Adriana Francisca Van Sluings was on Flight 447. Today, she might be wondering, where God was and why he didn’t protect her daughter.

Why would one be saved, but not the other? We don’t have the answer to that. The simple truth is that death comes for all of us. None of us know when that day will come. The people who boarded Flight 447 didn’t expect that they would never reach their destination. Likewise, any of us could get in our cars to go to the grocery store and never make it home. It is a fact of life, but how are we to live with it? God is in control. He knows who lives and who dies. He able to protect us, but he doesn’t always protect people from death.

At church on Sunday, Buddy Johnson reminded us that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you can be sure that the Lord doesn’t take your death lightly. For that matter, he doesn’t take the death of those who have rejected him lightly either. It isn’t his will for any to die and go to hell. He knew the fate of the 228 souls on board Flight 447 before it went down. While the families will greave for a while, the saints on board that flight are much better off. If we knew what they are now experiencing, we wouldn’t be asking why God didn’t spare them, but why he waited so long to take them home. The others had a different fate. While God doesn’t take pleasure in their death, their deaths serve as a reminder to us that this world is temporary. Except people repent and turn to God, they too will perish. Even if God were to intervene and prevent every death from here on out, the world will eventually come to an end and we will all face judgment. Without death, we could quickly forget and the world would be unprepared. It greaves us when so many people die so suddenly, but it is not without its purpose.