The Character of God [1]:

1986 Challenger Shuttle Disaster

Thursday was the 30th anniversary of the Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster. On January 28, 1986, six NASA astronauts and one civilian astronaut were killed when the Challenger Shuttle exploded 73 seconds after takeoff due to a faulty O-ring on the main fuel thruster. That O-ring had been damaged by freezing temperatures the night before and despite warnings from engineers, NASA insisted on the launch. Imagine the pain and frustration those certain engineers must’ve felt knowing their life-saving warnings went essentially unheeded. The pressure of that guilt actually forced some to go quietly into retirement and isolate themselves from the burden that came with this tragedy.

I read an article today concerning one of those reclused engineers. Bob Ebeling, now 89, finally broke his silence and spoke of the haunting mindset he has lived with for thirty years. Bob knew disaster was coming. He knew the Challenger was not prepared to last in climate lower than 40 degrees. Temperatures dropped as low as 18 the night before. Bob, as well as four other engineers, pleaded to halt the launch but their pleas were overuled.

Even as Bob went to bed that night prior, he told his wife, Darlene, “It’s going to explode”.

The next day, his fears were materialized as the Challenger broke apart over the Atlantic ocean 1 minute and 13 seconds after takeoff. The crew were believed to have been killed instantly but investigations showed that they either died while in freefall due to lack of oxygen, or when the crew cabin smashed into the ocean water at over 200 mph.

Those that were alive to remember the shock of this event remember deeply sympathizing with the families and friends watching live as they lost their loved ones in such a horrific manner. Some reporters on scene were so stunned and moved that they broke away from reporting to collect themselves. The entire nation felt the same heart-crushing pain. That pain was magnified by 1,000,000 for Bob and his fellow flagmen.

Sure Bob puts some blame on NASA for persisting against their professional advice. There’s even some consideration that maybe the President’s SOTU address had some influence in the decision.

But the overwhelming mentality that Bob chooses to rest in is that “God picked the wrong man”…He means himself.

Bob believes God made a mistake in choosing him to be there in his role at that time. He states, “I think that’s one of the mistakes God made when choosing me for the job, when I see Him I’m going to ask him ‘why me? You picked a loser’”.

The only comfort Bob can find is that:

  1. God made mistakes
  2. Bob is a disappointing loser.

In Genesis 1, we see God repeatedly say, “It is good” concerning His creation. Not once do we see Him create something and then say, “That’ll do I guess” or “Mmm, this one needs a little work.” He is pleased with His creation. Yet time after time I hear people say things that imply an alternative belief regarding how God sees them. Some people have believed lies straight from hell that they are a disappointment, they are useless, they are incapable, inadequate, unwanted, unloveable, destined for failure and faulty. This way of thinking only leads to isolation, depression and destruction. Now I understand that sin has tarnished God’s creation but for those that believe in the Name of Jesus and believe that He took our punishment, our sin and our separation on the cross so that we could be reunited with our Heavenly Father as adopted sons and daughters into the Kingdom, STOP HANGING YOUR HEAD. You are NOT worthless otherwise what worth led Jesus to the cross? You are NOT unloveable otherwise what love held Jesus on the cross? You are NOT a mistake. You are NOT damaged goods. God is NOT disappointed in you. He looks at you with a twinkle in His eye and a smile on His face and says, “That’s my baby-boy/girl. I’m so proud of them. I have created such beauty and potential.”

The enemy only wants to steal your joy. He’s an identity thief. He robs your worth with lies about your self-image and your perception of who you are and how God sees you. But God speaks the truth over you. You are worth every drop of blood that was spilt. You’re worth every painful lash. Live your life with your head up and your strut in confidence. He has created a masterpiece in you, and He is pleased…