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After Challenger


Published in It’s God’s World, February 13, 1986

The head of NASA last week gave a possible reason for the explosion of space shuttle Challenger. The right-side booster rocket apparently sprang a leak.

“We’re going to release the factual information as soon as we can,” said NASA chief William Graham, “when we’ve pulled it all together . . . and understand it.”

Films of the shuttle’s takeoff showed an abnormal flame spewing from the side of the rocket. It may have caused the huge explosion.  

“We don’t think it will take a very long time to get this problem corrected,” Mr. Graham added.He said the fiery leak was not seen before the explosion. Otherwise, Challenger commander Francis Scobee might have been able to dump the rockets. The shuttle then could have glided back to the runway at Cape Canaveral.

The nation continued to mourn the loss of the seven-member crew last week. Memorial services continued across the country on Sunday.


How did you feel? What did you think when Challenger and its crew were lost? It was a shock, wasn’t it? It was very sad.

Into the Face of God?

Many people die every day. But the loss of the shuttle crew was different. Those seven men and women were special to so many people.

President Reagan gave a short speech the day of the tragedy. He said the crew of Challenger had left the earth to reach into “the face of God.”

The whole nation seemed closer to God too. People everywhere were praying—in churches, in homes, in offices, in government buildings.

They were even praying in public schools, and nobody complained about “too much religion.” Nobody went to court to have it stopped.

Do you know why?

Perhaps people were a little more serious about life than usual. Perhaps they were a little more serious about death.

The Real Tragedy

Perhaps now is a good time for you to think about death too.

The loss of Challenger is by no means the biggest tragedy. A bigger tragedy is this: Some members of Challenger’s crew did not know the Lord Jesus.

Millions of other people are like that too. They bow their heads for “moments of silence.” But they are not flying into the presence of God at all. They are forever lost.

One Word

What will death mean for you? What hope do you have?

For Christians, the answer is wrapped up in one single word: Resurrection!

Yes, if you are in Jesus, you will be raised from the dead! Death will never win over you.

“We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus” (2 Corinthians 4:14).

God made you. He gave you life. He will raise you from the dead. Only God has the power to do that.

“I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus said. “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25).

The Final Answer

Yes, there is joy in the hearts of God’s people—even when “tragedies” happen. Resurrection is already here!

You see, in one way, “you have [already] been raised with Christ . . . For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).

Do you ever worry about your own life exploding like the shuttle? Do you know anyone else who does?

Then answer this: Do you “know Christ and the power of the resurrection” (Philippians 3:10)?

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