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*DANA Plane Crash & On Overcoming Crisis and Tragedy
By Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke
Since DANA plane disaster that killed all 153 passengers on board in Lagos a fortnight ago, I have followed the news very little due to my traveling itinerary for the past week and half. First, may the souls of DANA plane crash victims in Lagos, Nigeria rest in peace! Amen. May God Almighty comfort the bereaved families and give them the fortitude to bear these incalculable losses! The DANA plane crash that killed all 153 passengers on board including un-accounted people in the two-story building and its environ in Lagos, Nigeria, two Sundays ago is more than a national tragedy; I think it is a national disgrace and shame! The plane crash could have been avoided if DANA management is not so much interested in profit more than safety of human lives. I read that an investigation will be conducted. I hope they make these profiteers compensate handsomely for the incalculable loss of human lives.
I cringed and cried as I watched on a foreign news channel, the rescue and clean-up effort. It was the most disorganized, disorderly, and poorly managed rescue effort I have seen in my life. Thousands of ordinary citizens festered on the crash scene - some climbed on top of the wings of the plane that crashed. I have never seen such a horrible rescue mission like that before. Where were the so-called NEMA and other rescue operators in the State?
By the way, the DANA plane incident is just one among the series of tragedies that have befallen the nation since May 28, 2011. The nation is in a serious crisis and challenge of leadership – insecurity & terrorism, bribery& corruption, scams & 419, armed-robbery& kidnapping, jobless economy & high roof unemployment, among many social, economic, political, religious and moral issues. The nation needs lot of prayers and God's intervention now.
Interestingly, the DANA plane crash has become a big religious and spiritual discussion on the Internet. Many are asking: Why didn't God stop this tragedy? Why did God permit innocent children to perish like that? What has an entire family of wife, husband, and four babies including the unborn done to perish at one instance? Apparently this particular family lives in Connecticut, USA and had travelled to Nigeria to attend her younger brother's wedding. No doubt, this is going to be a dark and sad period for the surviving Anyene’s family! Also two sisters that reside in Houston, TX died in the plane crash as well. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An airborne Dana plane
It is always interesting that when tragedy like this sort happens, suddenly people begin to question God and seek explanation from religious and spiritual perspective. After 911, churches in America were packed-out with people who never stepped their foot into a church premises before. Others went to all kinds of religious and spiritual centers seeking for answers. For sure, tragedies such the DANA plane crash, 911, or hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, famines, floods, life threatening illnesses, sickness, disease, divorce, poverty, etc., are horrible and devastating events. And they are all forms of crises and adversities that we face each day in this world.
The Bible is so clear and teaches abundantly about crisis, adversity, tragedy, suffering, pain, grief, etc, that we will face in this world. In John 16:33, Jesus Christ said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Job 5:7 says, “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” Job 14:1 says, "Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.” Another translation said it this way, “man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil.”
The reality is that crisis is a fact of life. We live in a crisis world. The Lord did not promise us a “crisis-free-world,” or “crisis-free-life.” What He did promise is that we can overcome each challenge, each crisis, or each tragedy when it comes.
Dr. Charles Stanley, the famous Baptist Pastor/Theologian, in his book: “When Tragedy Strikes,” writes, “Tragedy affects all cultures and societies. Sooner or later, every person will be faced with the difficulties and sadness associated with sudden and unexpected traumatic event that will change forever life as they know it.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: People at the crash siteEveryone who lives in this world will experience crisis and tragedy at some point. We are all vulnerable and fragile human-beings prone to crises and tragedies of life. Tragedy is inevitable and crisis is a fact of life. It may be small or big and it usually comes in different sizes and shapes. No matter how challenges and crisis come, the truth is that we can overcome it. We are all vulnerable to crisis and challenges of life, but we do have the inner strength and capacity to overcome any adversity of life.
Susan L. Taylor, the founder and president of National CARES Mentoring Movement and Center for Meditation Science, former chief-editor of Essence magazine, writes, “Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.”
Prophet Habakkuk, a minor prophet in Judah, prophesized and challenged his country men when he wrote, “But the righteous will live by his faith” - Habakkuk 2:4 (NASB) . The apostle Paul writes, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39) .
Second Corinthian 4:17-18 teaches us that “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Body of a victim being removed from the crash site
Second Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” The apostle Paul summarized the care and comfort of God in Second Corinthians 1:3-4, when he wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
The Psalmist commands us to “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22). Jesus said, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Prophet Jeremiah told us that “God promises to heal our wounds and restore us” - Jeremiah 30:17a.
Crisis, tragedy and adversity will come to all of us at some time in this life (Job 7:7; James 1:3, 4). When they do come, we believers must be strong in the Lord. We must look to Him as our refuge (Deuteronomy 33:27) and call on Him with confidence that His promise not to forsake us is true (Hebrew 13:5). To those who faithfully trust in God, He will give us grace and strength to endure (Isaiah 40:29; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Colossians 1:11; Joshua 1:6-9; Isaiah 41:10, 11 Jeremiah 29:11 Romans 8:28). And that’s my prayer for those going through any crises in their life now. May God strengthen each of us in our crisis and give the bereaving family of DANA plane crash the fortitude and strength to bear this huge and sudden loss.
Photo Above: Nigeria Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah
Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke is a public theologian, author, and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
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