Another space programme related anniversary. The birth of Rick Husband.
High Calling by Evelyn Husband with Donna Vanliere
On February 1st 2003, space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry, killing all seven crew members. Rick Husband was the commander of the mission.
Evelyn Husband and their children, were waiting for Rick’s return at the Kennedy Space Centre, and it became clear that something was wrong when the clock counting down to the shuttle’s return, passed zero and started to count upwards.
Evelyn wrote High Calling only months after she lost her husband.
It is the story of Rick’s desire to become an astronaut, the difficulties he faced trying to be accepted into NASA’s space program, and the Christian faith motivating him, no matter what the career outcomes.
Rick Husband seems to have been a well-liked team leader of a very close-knit crew. Their bond strengthened by the extra time together caused by launch date delays. Husband’s STS-107 mission was leap-frogged by several other missions, their launch finally coming after STS-113.
The flight had added significance with the first Israeli astronaut being part of the crew, increasing security concerns prior to launch.
It’s a challenging book on many levels, that I found potentially raised questions about God, faith in Him, and the value of prayer.
“Why (or how) could God allow such a thing to happen to a crew headed by a devoted Christian?” Considering the outcome, what’s the point of praying for safety and success during a presumed “God given” task?
Are those two questions based upon wrong assumptions about the nature of a person’s faith (in God’s eyes rather than our own), and the reality of God’s will (as it actually is rather than our perception of it?)
Are the potential doubts at the heart of questions like those merely an expression of a lack of appreciation that God’s ways are not our ways? Maybe, what seems like a tragedy and a failure to man is in reality God’s way of moving towards eternal outcomes about which we know nothing and therefore currently can’t appreciate.
Rick Husband faced life with a favoured bible reference in mind.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Trusting Him would include being careful not to draw glib and presumptuous conclusions that lead to unwise judgements. To me that seems to be the message of the book of Job, and it seems relevant to this situation. After incredible suffering, and enduring the theological opinions of well-meaning, but ill-informed friends, Job is addressed by God who highlights the limits of man’s understanding.
Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 39: 2-7) (See Job 38-41 for full discourse)
Rick Husband and Mike Anderson, friends, crewmates on Columbia mission STS- 107 and brothers in Jesus.
The central element of the patch is the microgravity symbol, µg, flowing into the rays of the astronaut symbol.
The sunrise is representative of the numerous experiments that are the dawn of a new era for continued microgravity research on the International Space Station and beyond.
The constellation Columba (the dove) was chosen to symbolise peace on Earth and the Space Shuttle Columbia. The seven stars also represent the mission crewmembers and honour the original Mercury astronauts who paved the way to make research in space possible.
The Israeli flag is adjacent to the name of the payload specialist who is the first person from that country to fly on the Space Shuttle.
(adapted from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STS-107#/media/File:STS-107_Flight_Insignia.svg )