Guest Blog: Esther KnottJune 30th, 2009
At the time of writing this, I have been two weeks with little to no secular media contact—no TV, no radio, and only sporadic minimal connection to the internet for work purposes. (I’ve been at Michigan camp meeting.) My only reason for commenting on the lack of media infiltration into my life is to let you know that this will not be a commentary on what has been happening in the world—but more of what is in THE WORD. It seems the secular media is always full of bad news—telling you what the devil has been up to all day long.
In doing some research for our Contagious Adventist seminar publication this fall, I’ve been seeped in a study of “the sanctuary”. The sanctuary shows the badness of sin and the goodness of God. So, as our nation celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence I invite you to consider making a declaration of dependence—on the One who has been turning bad news into good news for 6,000 years.
The story of the Good Balloon Man (as told in the children’s story this Sabbath) is a wonderful illustration that there is value in being bound to something that will only lead us in the right direction.
What does your life declare to your family, friends, neighbors, the universe? What we declare is a reflection of what we believe the sanctuary declares.
Ever feel like the flight you’re on is going down?June 30th, 2009
Ever feel like the flight you’re on is going down? Karen and I just returned from two weeks in Europe—taping a Waldenses documentary (for the Andrews University School of Architecture) in Torre Pellice, Italy, and celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary in Grindelwald, Switzerland. After the recent Air France Flight 447 tragedy, travelers are even more sensitive to the possibilities of midair trouble. But our overnight flight to Europe was uneventful—until about five minutes before landing in Frankfurt, Germany—when there was a loud explosion near where we were seated, two rows up and on the opposite side. The explosion was followed by a loud roaring sound that only grew louder as we flew. Suddenly yellow pieces of insulation began shooting up from the aircraft wall into the cabin. A couple passengers jumped from their seats and fled to the other side. And we all began coughing from the insulation in the air. I don’t mind admitting it was a scary time. Your mind and heart are racing over the unknown. Is it a fire, or did a hole blow in the side of the Boeing 777? Naturally we were praying. The flight attendant on our side was yelling that her intercom was cut off. And I’m quietly thinking that this flight isn’t going to make it to the airport. But all the while there was no erratic movement of the plane. And eventually the loud roaring sound quieted away. Only coughing now.
You can understand the relief in the air was palpable when the wheels finally touched down and passengers began applauding. Soon the copilot came on the intercom and in the great understatement of our flight announced: “Some of you may have heard a sound in the rear of the plane . . .” He informed us that one of the hydraulic lines running down the side of the aircraft had burst open, spewing insulation into the cabin. We have no idea where the line ran to—but praise God it apparently wasn’t to the wings or tail flaps. We were safe—hallelujah!
Moral of the story—we must never take for granted our prayers for each other’s safety. Life is an uncharted flight at best. And while God is the pilot (like the sign in front of the church said, “If God is your copilot, you’re in the wrong seat!”), life can still be unpredictable. And uncertain. Hence our need of each other’s prayers. In that regard I solicit yours as I begin a writing sabbatical, to finish a 366-page devotional book for the Review and Herald Publishing Association that I began last summer. Eight months of devotional readings are now written, leaving me to write the four months of September through December over the next four weeks. So please claim Philippians 1:6 on my behalf—“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” And that, by the way, will be one flight guaranteed not to go down . . but up forever and ever. Amen.
Until the black boxes can be retrieved,June 4th, 2009
Until the black boxes can be retrieved, the cause of the crash of Air France Flight 447 over the Atlantic Ocean Sunday night will remain unresolved. Some have speculated that the aircraft suffered a midair disaster related to what scientists call the “intertropical convergence zone”—a nearly continuous band of colliding weather systems that stretches across the Atlantic at the equator from South America to Africa. The ICZ is the hotbed of some of earth’s strongest storms, with massive thunderheads at times towering up to 60,000 feet above sea level. That has led some to speculate the aircraft flew into that brewing meteorological cauldron and suffered a catastrophic event associated with the weather. The discovery of floating aircraft debris two days later was grim confirmation that all 228 people aboard perished on that ill-fated flight. And we grieve for their loved ones.
The reality is that all trans-Atlantic flights must fly through a “no radar” zone, a space above the ocean beyond the reach of air traffic controllers on either side of the Atlantic. Hundreds of flights every day traverse that swath beyond the reach of radar for hours at a time. Naturally, pilots rely on the on-board radar systems that monitor surrounding weather and other aircraft to assure their safe passage. The tragic accident Sunday night is a reminder that the forces of nature are unpredictable at best.
Is it any different with life? Clear skies can morph almost instantaneously into a deadly brew of trouble. A phone call at 2 a.m., a doctor’s grim report of the test results, an unobserved vehicle flying through a red light, even an innocuous little email—have you noticed, unforeseen high altitude turbulence can throw your life into a tail spin in a split second?
For those times we all have faced and will yet face ahead, I’m grateful there is no swath of air space we traverse that is beyond instantaneous contact with God. It may feel like he’s asleep in the midst of your storm right now. And it may appear that you are going down. But in that midnight fury when the panicking disciples cried in desperation, “Lord, save us,” the gospels shout into the wind the good news that Jesus stands up in your crisis and raises his hands to the maelstrom with the quiet command, “Peace—be still” (Mark 4:39). A supernatural peace in the midst of the storm is only a three-word prayer way: “Lord, save me.” For truth be known, God isn’t within radar contact—he’s at the controls of your flight. And no matter how stormy the night, he will have the last word. Even if your flight goes down.