On June 12, 1972, an American Airlines, McDonnell Douglas DC10 took off from Detroit, Michigan. The DC10 was a new plane at the time, one of the first “jumbo” jets of the jet age. Within minutes of take off, passengers and crew heard what sounded like an explosion followed by a sudden decompression of the cabin due to a huge hole in the floor toward the rear of the plane. Also damaged were the plane’s control cables making it extremely difficult for the pilots to control the aircraft. Thankfully for the passengers on board that day, the pilots were able to use their considerable skill to maneuver the plane back to Detroit and make an emergency landing. There was no loss of life and only a few minor injuries.
Investigation of the accident revealed that the cargo door on the DC10 had blown out when the plane reached around 12,000 feet, taking with it part of the cabin floor and damaging the plane’s control system. It was further revealed that the design of the DC10’s cargo door made it possible for the door to appear fully closed and locked from the outside even though the locking mechanism was not fully engaged. Several recommendations were made to McDonnell Douglas to remedy this problem.
Two years later, on March 3, 1974, a Turkish Airlines DC10 took off from Paris bound for London. Within ten minutes of take off, the remains of the plane were strewn across the French countryside and all 346 people on board were dead. At the time, it was the worst air disaster in history. Sadly, the investigation showed the cause of the accident to be the same as the one in Detroit two years earlier. McDonnell Douglas had not made the recommended improvements to the cargo door design and this time the plane’s control system was so badly damaged that the pilots had no hope of regaining control of the plane and making an emergency landing.
In our lives, God is often gracious to us by not allowing the consequences of our sin to be as severe as they might be. Unfortunately, we sometimes take that grace for granted and assume because we’ve acted a certain way with minimal or no consequence in the past, we can continue to do so indefinitely. But we have no such guarantee. In fact, we have an opposite guarantee. The Bible is clear that all our sin has consequences and eventually we will reap the consequences of our sin if we continue in it (Job 4:8). For the Christian this takes the form of God’s discipline of those He loves (Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:4-12). Make no mistake, God will not allow one claiming the name of Christ to continue in sin with impunity – there will be discipline. In fact I believe the Bible teaches that such discipline can be up to and including death (I John 5:16). For the non-Christian this ultimately takes the form of eternal damnation in Hell.
If you’re a believer involved in a sin with no thought of God’s discipline, I urge you to turn from that today. Reach out to a fellow Christian, confess your sin, repent of it and seek accountability. If you are outside the body of Christ, I urge you to turn from your sin and turn to Christ in repentance seeking forgiveness before it’s too late. For one day as with the DC10, a situation will arise from which no recovery is possible.