Do you love a good mystery? I think we are fascinated by things that tease and tantalize our brains! It just drives us crazy when all the pieces of the puzzle just don’t fit together. Many of the most popular books, movies and television shows revolve around the concept of mystery. Mystery is a part of life and we encounter it in many places. In this post I’m going to share what I believe are two of the greatest mysteries. Here’s the first mystery…
It was the day before Thanksgiving 1971 and Northwest Airlines flight 305 was flying through a cold and rainy northwestern sky, towards it’s destination in Seattle Washington. Just about the time the 727 passed over Portland, Oregon, something happened that had never happened before in this country. A passenger, going by the name of Dan Cooper, showed a stewardess a bomb that he was carrying in a briefcase and threatened to blow up the plane unless he was given $200,000 in cash and 4 parachutes.
In an effort to avoid what could have been an incredible disaster, the airline company decided to meet the hijacker’s demands.
As the nearly empty flight took off again, flying south, he parachuted out of the airplane with the ransom, and was never seen again.
“It remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the United States, a startling crime that captured the American imagination, inspiring songs, movies, TV shows and books,” according to the New York Times.
But after 45 years in which hundreds of leads were probed and discarded, the F.B.I. said as of July 2016 it was no longer actively pursuing what it called one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in its history.
Who is Dan Copper, how did he pull it off, where is he and why is there no trace of him since 1971? “Thus began one of the great unsolved mysteries in F.B.I. history,” the F.B.I. said.
There are several theories as to what could of happened to him.
Airline officials later admitted to giving him an unreliable parachute, which means there’s a possibility that he was killed when he hit the ground, a real good possibility. Scientists have suggested that, if that’s what happened, his body would never be identified because the force of the impact would have obliterated his body and his bones. But there should be traces of the parachute and money.
Another theory is that he might have landed in a huge lake 30 miles North of Portland and that all the weight that he had strapped to his body carried him to the bottom where he would have drowned.
But the most fascinating possibility is that he was successful, that his wild, hair-brained scheme actually worked and that he’ been living ever since on the money he received in luxury and comfort under a new identity.
Since that time books and songs have been written about DB Cooper, a Rock Group bears his name as does a bar in Salt Lake City. Only in America could a criminal become a folk hero.
If you are a parent, you are shrouded in mystery nearly every day! Many times parents find themselves scratching their heads trying to figure out, and make sense of the things their children do. Often they are a complete mystery. When things are broken, mud is tracked in, dishes are left out, our kids are quick to say, “I didn’t do that!” We often joke at our house that, “I guess a fairy must have done it if no one will confess.”
We tell our child, “Danielle I don’t want you to touch this, and what does Danielle do, she touches it.” Or we tell little Kaleb to stop jumping up and down on the bed, and we walk out of the room and go down stairs, and just as we sit down, we hear squeaking sound coming from upstairs, so we get up, go upstairs, open the door and there we find little Kaleb jumping up and down. He stops when we come in, and we ask him, “didn’t I tell you not to jump up and down,” “Yes” Kaleb replies, And didn’t I tell you that If you jumped up and down on your bed again that you would get a spanking” “A huh” says Kaleb. “Then why in the world are you jumping on your bed?” “I don’t know.”
That’s their answer! That’s the most popular answer that kids give for all the crazy things that they do. They know that they are not supposed to do it but they do it anyway. This can drive a parent crazy because it doesn’t make sense. Are they just trying to make us mad? Do they like getting in trouble? Or is Bill Cosby’s theory that they have brain damage right? Some things our children do will forever remain a mystery.
But in reality we can’t be too hard on them because if we’re honest we know that we did the same things to our parents.
The world is full of many mysteries, but all the great mysteries of the world, shrivel in comparison to the last mystery.
We get a peek at this mystery in Judges 2:
The Israelites …abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the LORD… so he handed them over to raiders who stole their possessions. He turned them over to their enemies all around, and they were no longer able to resist them….And the people were in great distress. Then the LORD raised up judges to rescue the Israelites from their attackers. Yet Israel did not listen to the judges but prostituted themselves by worshiping other gods. How quickly they turned away from the path of their ancestors, who had walked in obedience to the LORD’s commands. Whenever the LORD raised up a judge over Israel, he was with that judge and rescued the people from their enemies throughout the judge’s lifetime. For the LORD HAD COMPASSION on his people, who were burdened by oppression and suffering. But when the judge died, the people returned to their corrupt ways, behaving worse than those who had lived before them. They went after other gods, serving and worshiping them. And they refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. Judges 2:11-19 (NLT)
The Israelites repeatedly went through the cycle of sin, suffering, crying to the Lord and experiencing God’s deliverance. Why would God put up with such people? Why would God love such people? Why would God forgive and deliver such people time and time again? From a human standpoint it’s a complete mystery.
Why would God continue to love a continuously rejecting and rebellious people? Before we are too hard on them we have to agree that we are just like the Israelites we read about. We abandon God, we don’t listen, we’re stubborn, we’re corrupt, we prostitute ourselves to anything that will make us happy and we refuse to give up our evil ways. We get ourselves into trouble, we cry out to God and he listens! He has compassion on us and he rescues us.
We are oppressed by our stubborn ways and rebellion. We are shackled in the chains of sin, trapped in the dark dungeons of despair. The doors were shut, the cell was deep, the chains were tight and there was little hope for freedom. Sin our slave master was cruel and oppressive, he did not care about us, and the wages of our sin was death.
We were helpless and powerless, and we could not save ourselves. But God the Son came in the flesh, and He burst opened the doors and He shattered the chains and they fell to the ground and the light of life, came shining into the darkness.
While we were still sinners, while we were God’s enemies, while we were willingly disobeying God, neglecting God and using God for our own selfish interests, God was in the process of paying the price of pour sins, Himself. While we were rejecting God telling Him to get out of our lives, Jesus God the Son, was beaten, mocked, and nailed to the cross so that you and I could escape the dungeon of sin and the flames of hell.
“God demonstrated his own love for us in this while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
I can’t understand why God would do that, IT’S PERHAPS THE GREATEST MYSTERY OF ALL TIME.
Special thanks to Steve Malone, Pastor of Maple Grove Christian Church for some of the ideas contained in this post.