“This is obviously a very significant development. It’s the first real evidence that there’s a possibility that part of the aircraft may have been found.” So stated Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss yesterday, describing the discovery of debris off the coast of an Indian Ocean island.
Investigators believe they have found part of a plane’s wing called the “flaperon,” and that it is almost certainly from a Boeing 777 aircraft. They could not confirm that the debris was from missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. However, MH370 is the only Boeing 777 that has ever disappeared over water.
Even if the debris is proven to be part of the doomed jet, the mystery continues. The aircraft part was found 1,000 miles away from where investigators believe the plane went down. And of course, we still don’t know what caused the plane to crash. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak: “As soon as we have more information or any verification we will make it public. We have had many false alarms before, but for the sake of the families who have lost loved ones, and suffered such heartbreaking uncertainty, I pray that we will find out the truth so that they may have closure and peace.”
I cannot imagine what it has been like for these survivors over the last 17 months. Their plight is similar to that of “Missing In Action” (MIA) military families. More than 78,000 soldiers were MIA from World War II, over 8,000 from the Korean War, and 1,629 from Vietnam. More than 10,000 endangered runaway children were reported to American authorities last year.
Closure is elusive for anyone who is missing someone they love. For most, peace will not come from a change in their circumstances, but from a change in their hearts.
Last Wednesday, I referenced Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. In his now-classic Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl describes his approach to his imprisonment: “My concern was different from that of most of my comrades. Their question was, ‘Will we survive the camp? For, if not, all this suffering has no meaning.’ The question which beset me was, ‘Has all this suffering, this dying around us, a meaning? For, if not, then ultimately there is no meaning to survival; for a life whose meaning depends upon such a happenstance—as whether one escapes or not—ultimately would not be worth living at all.'”
Frankl determined that life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud taught, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler believed. Rather, it is a quest for meaning. He affirmed the words of Friedrich Nietzsche: “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.”
To a nation facing imminent disaster at the hands of the Babylonians, God promised: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
What is your “Why to live for”?