Embracing how little we understand…

Do you ever cease to be amazed at the advances of technology that have transformed our world?

The collective engineering and coordination that has to take place to design and build a skyscraper or a naval vessel or coordinate a major event like the super bowl is difficult to get one’s head around.

When I was a kid, I remembered reading about the SR-71 spy plane. One thing bothered me though. One of the books I had read on Air Force planes said it leaked fuel profusely. It was so bad that they had to refuel it via a tanker immediately after every take off.

I distinctly remember being troubled by this. How could they design a plane that flew so fast and cost so much money and yet have such an egregious flaw in design?

Well as it turns out, it wasn’t a flaw in the design after all. I found out years later that it was built that way on purpose because the titanium would stretch under heat. To compensate, they left gaps where fuel would leak out while it was on the runway, but as soon as it accelerated to operating speed, the frame would stretch and the leaks would seal.

As a kid, I just assumed the designers had overlooked the potential for this undesirable outcome. I assumed this because at that time, I didn’t have the necessary knowledge to understand the immense complexity and engineering genius that made the SR-71 unique.

I was a 12 year old kid fascinated with a plane because it looked cool and went fast (I’m still that way too), but had no idea what all went into actually making the plane fulfill its purposes for creation and design.

We are all like that though aren’t we? We all tend to look at life, things or people and, if we aren’t careful, become critical because we think we have all the necessary facts in order to form an accurate conclusion.

Kids do this to their parents, parents do it to their bosses, church members do it their pastors, students do it to their teachers, citizens do it to their elected officials, countries do it to other countries, and we all do it to the God who created the universe in one way or another.

Had I been lucky enough to have met one of the designers of the SR-71 back then, I hope I would have respectfully asked why the plane leaked and not just popped off some ugly remark about how stupid they were for designing a plane that ended up leaking. That way I could have learned something from someone who clearly had significantly more knowledge about the subject matter than I did and also spared my ego when I found out later just how little I really knew.

Not only that, but it is far more satisfying and rewarding to live in the continual wonder and amazement of the beauty, intricacies and complexity of life, people and things — particularly when it comes to jets that go Mach 3+.

David Wood

About Ron

Ron and Anne founded the first Christian Fellowship Church in Harlingen, Texas in 1982. Ron presently serves as its apostolic overseer. He travels nationally and internationally motivating and challenging people to be effective in their call and ministry to their local church, their community, and the marketplace.

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