The disappearance of the Malaysian airline has taken the world by surprise. How can a plane just vanish? The world as we know it has never experienced such a bizarre event. In a world, where technology has advanced so much and where we can claim to have the wherewithal to know everything about anything and anyone, can a plane just “disappear”? The Malaysian authorities have been criticised in how they’ve handled the case – why has information been so slow in coming out? The newspapers and TV have shown us pictures of crowds of people screaming and crying in frustration and grief, desperate for news, still daring to hope. And now, three weeks after the event, the media are not saying very much at all – other events have squeezed it out.
And yet, in this world where we have got used to technology being able to give us instant answers and where we’re perplexed as to why we have no immediate explanation for the disappearance of this plane, there are people overwhelmed with grief and loss.
It was brought home to me when a weeping woman came into one of my churches last week. As I sat with her, she poured out her grief: she had been desperately trying to get in touch with her father who lives in Thailand. He travelled regularly to China and she thought he’d been on that particular plane. She waits and weeps. She can do nothing else. And all we can do is pray and journey with her.
Waiting throws us onto God. When instant answers are not there, God still is. At times, waiting is a terrible thing to have to do. We have no answers; we don’t know whether to hope or what to hope for. But in the midst of all that agony of waiting, God invites us to put our trust in him.
The Revd Canon Jane Kenchington is Rector of the Sodbury Vale Benefice and Area Dean of Wotton