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It was a defining moment. On January 28, 1986 the Space Shuttle Challenger
exploded and killed all seven astronauts aboard. It was a major setback
in NASA's manned space flight program. But worse than what it did to NASA,
something died in most Americans along with the astronauts.
Up until the explosion, Americans took a certain pride in the accomplishments
of our space program. For some, there was a thrill in beating the Russians
into space and being more advanced than they were, but there was more to
it than "cold war" spite.
During prayer meetings, WIWAK (when I was a kid), I would often hear
the adults marvel at the advancements of medical science. If someone had
a disease without a cure, the people would pray that God would aid the
scientists as they worked on the problem. Anymore, I hear more about pharmaceutical
company's profits, doctor's mistakes and insurance corruption than praise
for medical science. Has a bit of our hope died? Oh, I can't prove there
is a connection between the day our astronauts died and our eroded faith
in science, but something has changed.
WIWAK, I'd hear people say, "Well, if we can put a man in space then
surely we can . . ." People said that whenever they faced a difficult task
or were up against impossible odds. Funny thing, I haven't heard that phrase
lately. Did a bit of our optimism die with the astronauts?
What was the monumental cause of the shuttle disaster? With the millions
of dollars that we've put into the shuttle program, it would have to be
something big, right? Not exactly. Seventy-three seconds into the flight,
a flame shot out of the side of one of the two solid rocket boosters. The
point of failure was an O-ring. Some say it was made out of the wrong material,
that it was vulnerable to frost. Others say it was too small. Regardless,
it failed. Our astronauts died.
Small things, like O-rings do make a difference.
Read the sermon
that corresponds to this devotional.