A Freefall

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Friday, May 21, 2010 at 2:16 AM

My guess is that two months ago 90 percent of you could not tell me who Lisa Nowak is though she had one of the most prestigious jobs in America as a Space Shuttle astronaut. My guess is most of you know her name now, not because she was one of the brightest and well respected astronauts. Or not because she garnered much praise and respect for her work on the shuttle last summer. Most know her now because she has been arrested in Florida under an attempted murder charge.

We watch in disbelief as we watch a life freefall into disaster and we wonder how it could have ever happened. We here statements like this in People magazine from Doug Peterson, ‘everything I’ve ever seen gave evidence to me that Lisa was one of our good astronauts, she had all the right background credentials, skills and abilities.” and we wonder how. In the same article her brother in law makes these statements, ‘she is a very loving mother and a caring person.’ Then adds she was someone who played by the rules. Hear his last statement, “to say this is out of character would be a gross understatement.”

She is described as a loving mother of three and someone who played by the rules. She was a part of one of America’s pride and joys the space program. Married for 19 years and lived in a wealthy suburb of Houston. In our minds she had it all, and we ask ourselves how this could be.

Here is how I see it. 1) Nothing is always as it seems on the surface. 2) No one has it all. 3) And this is my main point; we are all just one slip from a complete freefall. We need to be careful.

Evidently her marriage of many years was faltering and she had fallen in love with a co-worker. Her sister said in the People magazine article that Nowak never quite recovered from losing three former classmates in the 2003 Columbia shuttle explosion. Stress and heartache at home, stress and disaster at work, and who knows what else and in just a few months all she has worked for is gone, for now anyway.

People seem shocked that someone so smart and gifted could fall. I laugh at that because what that is saying is that only uneducated, average folks make mistakes or loose control. Nothing in the world could be further from the truth.

Would you like some examples, no problem:

Moses: Brought up with the best education of his day. Looks around one day and sees no one watching, commits murder and before he knows it he has lost his standing in the court, his room in the palace and is wondering around in the desert.

David: A strong king well loved by the people, known as a great warrior and fierce leader, a man known as one after God’s own heart. He too looks around but he sees a beautiful young lady, commits adultery then tries to cover it up and commits murder. He finds himself broken in spirit and out of fellowship with God. Though he finds mercy things are never quite the same.

Solomon: David’s son, and well known as the wisest man ever. He knows the consequences of sin, but he too lets his guard down and brings in many foreign wives with many different Gods. This wise man finds himself far from the instruction and will of God. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

These are just a few examples from the Bible, but you need only look around your neighborhood or office to find someone who in a moment lost their way and lost it all. They seemed to have everything or so you thought and then boom the bottom falls out.

My heart breaks for all concerned in this story, as in all cases there are far more than just one or two victims here. I can only pray for healing for all involved and for the grace of God to cover each person.

I pray we can learn from these circumstances and stay on our guard so as to avoid a freefall that will lead to heartache in our lives. There is much to learn let’s ponder a few of the lessons.

  • Education, wealth and success does not guarantee a happy life. Real and lasting joy comes from God.
  • We have never arrived completely until the Lord takes us home. We must never drop our guard against the evils and temptations of this world.
  • When the cracks begin to form we need as many Godly friends as we can to help put things back together again. We need friends we can be real with and who will tell us what we need to hear not what we want to hear. The devils plan is to isolate us, we need to avoid that at all cost.
  • Grace is always available; if someone has God they have never lost it all.

That last point is where I want to start to close this with. It may indeed seem like this freefall has left an astronaut totally lost. She may end up in jail, she will never likely fly again and she almost certainly will end up divorced. Honor, praise and public acclaim will never be hers again. They are replaced with shame, depression, heartache and disappointment to name a few. I am sure those things crush at Ms. Nowak’s heart but I have good news for her and for all of us who have fallen and that is God is still there.

We have a loving God that is in the recovery business. He loves all his children even those who have made a mess of things. Sometimes it is only after all we have has been taken away that we can see God more clearly. When the dust settles He is there, He always is.

Are your freefalling? Look up before you crash, God is there.

Have you hit rock bottom? Look around others may have left you but He never will.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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