Where is God in a Disaster?

By Nancy Flory Published on February 1, 2017

On liftoff, fourteen years ago this morning, a large piece of foam had broken from the shuttle’s external tank and breached the left wing.  As the Columbia flew high above Dallas at 18 times the speed of sound, Mission Control radioed the commander to let him know they had abnormally high temperature readings from sensors in the left wing and abnormal tire pressure readings.

The commander responded, “Roger,” then his next words were cut off. Within moments, the Columbia shuttle broke apart in the sky above Texas, raining down pieces of the shuttle and the remains of its seven crew members.

The crew were newbies at space travel. Between them, they had three space flights under their belts. The Columbia would be the commander’s second flight. Before their last space flight, the crew of the Columbia sat down with Space.com for an interview on their thoughts about traveling on the Columbia.

Rick Husband, Columbia’s Commander, said that he saw the flight “as God’s blessing.” All seven crew members spoke of the amazing opportunity they had to travel on the Columbia shuttle, how it was a dream come true and how they were confident they could handle problems as they arose. They knew what could happen, but they did not allow fear to get in the way of the potentially thrilling experience of space travel.

Our Calling: Stand Like the Astronauts

Much like the astronauts on the Columbia, we are called to stand in the face of fear, in the possibility of disaster and just trust Him. Yes, events happen that shake us. We lose loved ones, we find ourselves unemployed without a way to pay rent or buy food. Or perhaps we face death.

Evelyn Husband, wife of the Columbia’s commander, said Rick asked her for prayers so that “I will be a good leader because I don’t want to let them or NASA or the Lord down.” He said: “I don’t want people to see me. I want them to see how God has worked in my life.”

Yet, we are told to stand and trust. The Lord says, “fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). This requires trust — He doesn’t tell us that he will let us in on His plan or tell us why something terrible happened. He only says I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you. Fear not, I am with you. Trust Me.

Psalm 23:4 is another verse to remember in times of trouble: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” Once again, no promises that God will explain; just that He will be with us and comfort us. Trust Me, he says. Husband was content with doing just that.

Evelyn Husband, Rick’s wife, told CBN how Rick asked her for prayers so that “I will be a good leader because I don’t want to let them or NASA or the Lord down.” She added that Rick believed strongly that God made him Commander of the shuttle for a reason. “I don’t want people to see me,” he said. “I want them to see how God has worked in my life.”

God is Here, Even in the Shadow of Death

Evelyn admitted that the Lord has been her “strength and light in dark times.” When asked if she blames God, she said doesn’t, because God has a plan for each person’s life. She may not understand why the disaster happened, but she is not bitter. “God has been too good to me, to Rick, and to our families.”

Rick’s desire was to do the will of God and be a godly man. “As Rick’s wife and best friend, I can affirm that his heart’s cry to God has been answered in his lifetime.”

Throughout the disasters that may come in our lives, God is here. When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death … thou art with me.  “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13).

He can be trusted. That isn’t to say that nothing catastrophic will happen. It is to say that He will carry us through — to His proper end — if we lean on Him for strength and trust Him to know and do what is best for us.

“[B]ut those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

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