Until the black boxes can be retrieved,
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.