The spot where Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 collided with the ground looks more reminiscent of a construction zone of landfill site than the resting place of an aircraft. Such was the sheer force of impact, that barely any recognizable aviation structure remained.
Instead, personal belongings and mangled pieces of metal are strewn across the football-field-sized crash site in a scene that is nothing short of mortifying.
However, among the charred pieces of clothing and churned up soil, one item caught my eye — a book, nestled among the debris, titled, “Conversations With God.”
The book, snapped by Getty Images photographer Jemal Countess, not only has an intriguing title but, as I discovered, contains something of a poignant message in the context of such abject tragedy.
See, the 1997 publication, “Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue,” written by author Neale Walsch, is all about having a serious, uncensored dialogue with God about the biggest questions of life such as:
Why do we suffer?
What is the point of life?
Why does God allow terrible things to happen?
As a description for the book reads, “Conversations With God” was penned after Walsch experienced a “low period” in his life and desired to “vent some frustrations” at the situation he found himself in. In the early 1990s, having worked in several different jobs, Walsch suffered some absolutely crippling blows in a story reminiscent of the Biblical character, Job.
It all started with a fire that destroyed all of his belongings. Then came the break-up of his marriage, and, finally, a brutal car accident left him with a broken neck. Rendered homeless and jobless, and living in a tent, Walsch really thought this was it — his life was over. So, he began to write and started to reveal the depths of his heartache to the Lord. Out of this time came the best-selling “Conversations With God” series, which has helped millions come to terms with the complex existential questions that plague so many of us.
Trusting when there are no answers
Of course, we are all filled with questions. Questions over the state of our own personal lives, and questions surrounding the suffering, turmoil, and death that we see all around us. Unfortunately, even as Christians who may know the Lord in an intimate way, it is important to understand that there will be times when questions will remain unanswered.
Indeed, while an investigation into the reasons behind Flight 302 crashing to the ground will no doubt unearth some technical answers, for the families of the victims, the deeper question of “Why?” may remain with them for the rest of their days.
However, though excruciatingly difficult at times like these, we can also trust that Almighty God, in all His sovereign knowledge, retains all the answers to our deepest, grief-laden questions. When we are unable to fathom any sense of meaning resulting from such brutal loss, this may grant us some level of solace.
One day it will all make sense
Indeed, our hope is that one day, He will reveal these great mysteries to us in glorious splendor with the second coming of our Lord Jesus. As the name suggests, the Book of Revelation attests that, in the end, all will be revealed and no question will remain unanswered.
On that day, the Bible tells us, there will be no sorrow, no pain and no more confusion over earthly trials and tears — this can be our hope in times of senseless tragedy.
But for now? We pray. We pray that the truth found in Jesus may be a comfort and a healing balm to all those who are grieving the loss of loved ones in this awful plane crash.