“Houston, We Have a Problem”

Story of the Day for Monday July 18, 2011

“Houston, We Have a Problem”

                 That night the king couldn’t sleep.

                                                             Esther 6:1

In 1970, Ken Mattingly was chosen by NASA to go to the moon. How cool is that?

But three days from launch, he was exposed to the German measles by fellow astronaut, Charlie Duke. NASA’s flight surgeon calculated that Mattingly would be spiking a fever at the critical moment of the moon landing. Mattingly was scrubbed and learned that his backup, Dave Swiggert, would be the Command Module Pilot.

Mattingly’s dream of going to the moon had been crushed. But he wasn’t disappointed for long. 200,000 miles from a tow truck, Swiggert, was told to stir the oxygen tanks. When he did so, the oxygen tank exploded and damaged the spacecraft’s electrical system. As the astronauts watched something spewing out the spacecraft, they relayed the well-known message: “Houston, we have a problem.”

It was a good thing that Swiggert had replaced Mattingly. Of all the astronauts in the space program, he had the best knowledge of command module malfunction procedures. Mission Control had to improvise an emergency plan to get the astronauts back to earth. They needed someone who could precisely relay calculations and readings to Houston, and no one was better than Swiggert.

Not only that, but the astronauts would now be forced to endure extreme cold with virtually no sleep. As a former football player for the University of Colorado, Swiggert had a hardier physique to endure the physical pressure the astronauts faced.

Moreover, at Houston, Mattingly proved indispensible to the rescue effort. NASA didn’t know how to power the spacecraft for re-entry into earth’s atmosphere. Mattingly’s intimate knowledge of the spacecraft enabled him to find a way to power the astronauts back to earth.

Without the exchange of Swiggert for Mattingly, many believe the Apollo 13 astronauts would’ve perished.

Have you ever had trouble sleeping at night? Annoying isn’t it?

One night, King Xerxes couldn’t get to sleep.

Who knew that insomnia would lead the king to request that the annals of his reign be read to him, which led him to discover that Mordecai had never been rewarded for saving his life, which led to the execution of Haman – who was plotting mischief against Mordecai and the Jewish people.

We naturally become discouraged at the setbacks in life. But once we get to know the God that uses the disappointments in life as a catalyst for good, it can change how we react to shattered dreams. Trust replaces anguish.

Ken Mattingly, by the way, never did come down with the measles.

                                          (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)