A Fox News report begins: “The world is riveted by the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, and the world media has focused on it non-stop for over a week.” CNN managed to dramatically increase their ratings on the back of this mystery story, which, let us not forget, still includes families waiting in terrible anguish to hear the fate of their loved ones on flight 370.
What is it about this mystery that drives people and news organizations to follow every twist and turn of the story, even when there aren’t that many actual twists and turns? The past few weeks we’ve seen news media cover this story like they cover an action-packed basketball game (I feel guilty even blogging about it), except there isn’t much genuine action happening in the reporting of the story, just the contrived illusion of “breaking news.” The actual pace of this story is much slower than the media portrays. I don’t just blame the news media; I blame consumers (me included) of news. Our attention spans and our ability to discern the difference between actual news and hype have become dangerously compromised. As a result, we are easily seduced and manipulated into spending copious quantities of our precious time glued to the “news.”
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the fascination of a compelling mystery. Human beings have an innate need to solve mysteries. We crave answers to questions. We love to discuss theories about what happened. After all, people are still looking for Amelia Earhart’s plane, and it disappeared in 1937. To me, the core of the Malaysia Airlines story is a reoccurring one: a blend of human tragedy brought on in part by humanity’s often arrogant confidence in our own technology (think Titanic, the unsinkable ship). We have a powerful curiosity about what went wrong because the fact that something did indeed go wrong makes us uncomfortable. Sure, we want to learn and prevent things from going wrong in the future, though we know in our heart that the complete elimination of tragedy is unlikely. It is part of the compromise we make to risk in order to learn and improve the human condition. Even the most timid among us can’t navigate this life without taking on some degree of risk. Thinking about risk makes me wonder if God takes risks. My gut tells me God risked more than we will ever know by breathing life into the lungs of humanity and, later, sending his Son to the cross. What’s the risk to God? Answer: rejection.
The mystery of flight 370 will likely be solved, one day. And until the day when all mysteries are solved, we can enjoy the mystery of our faith.
“If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”