Flight recorders are mandatory on all commercial flights. What are they? “A flight recorder is an electronic recording device placed in an aircraft for the purpose of facilitating the investigation of aviation accidents and incidents.”
There are two types of flight recorders. First, there is the flight data recorder (FDR). This device records data from dozens of parameters (at least 88 in passenger airlines) several times every second during the operation of the aircraft. When the investigation begins, the FDR provides information on any system malfunctions which may have caused the plane to crash. The second type of flight recorder is the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). This device records sounds and conversations in the cockpit. This data will inform the investigators on what the crew believed was happening to their aircraft before it crashed. The CVR can also reveal any activity of the crew which might have contributed to the crash.
These devices are often mistakenly referred to as “black boxes.” Actually, they are painted bright orange and include an underwater locating beacon to assist investigators in locating them. To survive a plane crash intact, flight recorders are built to withstand a force of 3,400 G’s and temperatures of 1,830 degrees (F). Sometimes these two devices are combined into a single unit. Sometimes they’re mounted separately. But finding them after a crash is of extreme importance. Otherwise, investigators can only speculate about the factors which led up to the crash. Without the flight recorder, investigators are left with nothing but tormenting questions and they can do nothing to prevent future accidents.
Do You Wish?
Sometimes I wish people had “flight data recorders” and “thought recorders” on them. It would be a great help in the event of a loved one’s death. An autopsy only tells us what went wrong physically. But a “thought recorder” would give us a “readout” of what God was doing on the inside of our loved ones when they died. I think such a “recorder” would help dispel a lot of our griefs and remorse following their death.
If we only knew their final words, thoughts, and prayers to God before they entered eternity. It would cause our hearts would be less troubled. We would know that their last thoughts were of us. We’d know that they bore us no anger or resentment. We’d know that, in their last moments on earth, they made their peace with God.
Think also of the millions who have been tortured and put to death for Jesus’ sake. We only hear “the facts” about their deaths. We only see the photos of dead bodies and we only hear about the grieving families they leave behind. That’s just enough information to dishearten us. It’s only enough to make us think their death represents a failure on God’s part and a defeat for the believer.
Yet, we have no idea of what was going on inside them. If the martyrs had a “flight data recorder” on them, we’d understand the surge of God’s presence and glory they felt in their hour of trial (Acts 7:55–60; 1 Peter 4:14). We’d realize how God’s grace carried them through their ordeal, numbing their pains and shielding their souls. We’d know how God’s angels swept them out from under the heel of Satan and carried them into heaven (Luke 16:22; 2 Timothy 4:18). From a “voice recorder” we’d also hear the voice of Satan cursing and grumbling in the background. Helping to know how another believer was forever beyond his grasp. We’d realize that the death of a saint is Satan’s defeat and the saint’s victory (Psalm 116:15; Isaiah 57:1–2; 1 Corinthians 15:54–57; Revelation 12:10–11).
People Only Have Fragments
But people don’t have flight recorders. And we are left with only fragmentary information on what really happened. And it is the devil’s strategy to take this inadequate and misleading information and use it to vex us.
Think about it. Even in the most tragic types of death—suicide for instance—it would be in keeping with God’s character to extend His grace and help to the dying and despairing person. Who knows but that God intervened to help them cry out to Him in their last moments—as He did with the dying thief (Luke 23:42–43)? Who knows but that God was present with them in their hour of confusion and intervened to take their life–before they could take their own. This would be a great consolation to the grieving family member. But instead, the grieving family must grope through the darkness and struggle to trust in God’s limitless love.
The day will finally come when God wipes every tear from our eyes and answers all our troubling questions. But until that day, we must be on our guard against these demonic tactics that our enemy uses to torment us. Look at how Satan used the slanted reports of Job’s calamities (e.g. “the fire of God fell on your flocks”) to increase the pain of his staggering loss (Job 1:16). To stand firm against him, we must cling to the many promises of God’s love and faithfulness to us and our loved ones.
“For God so loved humanity that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16–17). “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up to judgment and death for us all, how will He not also—along with Him–freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31–32). “Shall not the judge of all the earth do that which is right?” (Genesis 18:25). “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).
Believe in God’s love at all times—for yourself and for those you love.
Dear Father in heaven, please open my eyes to behold things the way You do. Please help me to develop a biblical world view and to see life’s tragedies from eternity’s perspective. Help me to grasp the greatness of Your infinite wisdom, power, and love. Amen.