Entire skyscrapers sit unused because they are considered unsafe. Multi-million dollar highways abruptly stop because they came up against unforeseen natural obstacles.
A huge stadium roof collapses; only to be rebuilt “correctly” and then collapse all over again. A brand new four billion dollar airport still sits unopened in Berlin a full decade after its construction because it has over 30,000 structural issues.
The $36 million Hubble telescope launches and sends back blurred pictures because the lens was ground wrong, necessitating astronauts to transport and install a new lens in orbit. But my personal favorite is…
A $327 million NASA spacecraft crashed into Mars because engineers failed to realize they were tracking it in metric units, but the information it was sending them was in imperial units! No one had remembered to make this simple conversion in the software.
Now, I only watched two or three episodes. But it appears there are enough of these catastrophes to fill fifty plus episodes spread over six full seasons. One shudders to think that so many significant such mistakes costing so much could have been made. And sadly, the cost involves more than mere losses in property. A series of dam failures in china resulted in one flood that killed over 200,000 people.
In case after case, the cause is invariably traced back to the simplest of mistakes – a flaw in design or materials or construction. When the cause is revealed, it leaves the viewer asking, “How could someone be so stupid?” And yet, if you think about it, it is this very notion that keeps any of us from throwing stones! For who among us has not made countless such mistakes in life?!
As I sat viewing the program, I thought about my first full time job just out of high school. I got a position washing cars at a local Chevrolet dealership. When a car was sold, I was to clean it up get it around front to the customer. I must have had enough of a work ethic that my employer took notice. I soon got a promotion checking in cars that were delivered from tractor trailer haulers.
My job then consisted of checking the new deliveries for damages, affixing appropriate stickers, and then driving them to the pump and putting in two gallons of gas before parking them on the lot for sale. One Friday, the owner asked me if I would like to get some overtime on Saturday. He needed me to take a car he had from our dealership outside Atlanta to a dealership near Augusta and swap it.
The Augusta dealership had a customer for our car and vice versa. It was a simple two hour trip out Interstate 20 and then two hours back. I readily agreed. The next morning, I got in the vehicle and struck out on I-20. Unfortunately, never having travelled much, I headed west on I-20, away from Augusta. Two hours later, I stopped at the Alabama line and called the dealership and learned a valuable lesson about responsibility!
What should have been a four hour round trip turned into a six hour trip. I barely made it to the other side of the state near the South Carolina border and the Augusta dealership before they closed. To his credit, the owner, who had been forced to await my return, did not fire me. But I did become the laughing stock of the entire organization for the next few days!
That is not the only bone-headed mistake I have made in my life. In truth, I have made more than I can even begin to recall. Nor was it the most costly one! But I do cherish the thought of it because it reminds me of another disappointment I brought to authority.
You see, the Bible tells us that there is none who is righteous, not even one! The reason for this is that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And that includes me!
I do not even remember the first time I disappointed my Heavenly Father. Given that I am a sinner by both nature and by choice, it was early enough in life that I cannot even remember it. But the consequences were just as serious. For the same Bible that tells us that we are all sinners also tells us that there is a consequence for our sins; and that is death. Yet, even while we were sinners, God gave His Son to die on our behalf. And because of this, we can find forgiveness and restoration!
I’ve never engineered a catastrophe on the scale portrayed in the television series. But I have engineered enough failures in my own life to guarantee that, apart from the forgiveness of others, I would be in difficult straights.
For this reason, I am thankful for those who have chosen to overlook my shortcomings and extend me grace. And chief among those individuals is God Himself!