Did you know that the first major article of any wide circulation to report on the astonishing Wright Brothers achievement of flight was an apiary magazine? I read that tidbit to Asherel with delight.
"Funny that the author of this book doesn't mention what a wonderful irony that is," I said chuckling.
Asherel looked a little blank.
"Do you get the irony? Apiary is about bees; the magazine was for people who raise bees for honey. But the funny thing is, bumblebees are said to be aerodynamically incapable of flight...and yet they fly."
I smiled with the deliciousness of it all. A bee magazine was the first serious report to recognize the miracle of what the Wright Brothers had done. In those first early days, not only did people believe humans would never fly, they also thought the few things they heard the Wright Brothers were up to were a hoax. Like the heavy small winged bumblebee flying, human flight was impossible.
The Wright Brothers treated failure and skepticism the same way the Bumblebee did when their achievement of flight was in question. They just kept flying. And getting better and better at it. Their success was not due to luck, or even just genius...but to determination and hard work, and ignoring the naysayers.
It turns out that scientists who questioned the aerodynamic impossibility of a bumblebee flying were only correct when they compared a bumblebee to a fixed wing aircraft. In that case, a bumblebee's body is indeed too big and wings too small to ever attain flight. However, a bumblebee is not like a fixed wing airplane. It is more like a helicopter with rotating airfoils. A movable wing can lift much heavier objects with a smaller blade than a fixed wing.
What was additionally ironic as I read this part of our day's history to Asherel was while I read to her, she was making a last ditch helicopter for our Science Olympiad contest Saturday. This will be Helicopter #75 (or so) in our frustrating year of helicopter construction. But this time, we discussed why our other copters didn't seem to be great and what we needed to do to change the design. It was time to be courageous and more innovative. She spent the whole day building while I read her schoolwork to her. I hope she was as inspired by the Wright Brothers and the Bumblebee as I was.
Then I called the church where we test. They had said they had no more open slots of time for us to test. I explained that we would be in and out in ten minutes, that we had our contest Saturday, and we needed to test just this last one. They approved a time on Thursday. The new last hope helicopter rests in its cozy "hangar" awaiting the test flight.
In the book of Esther, when the king gave an irrevocable command that his soldiers would rise up against the Jews on a certain day, all looked lost. Esther pleaded with him to revoke the edict, but much as he wished he could, he was bound by the traditions and beliefs of that time period. Once a king had issued an edict, not even the king could revoke it. It looked hopeless, time to throw in the towel, and the Jews were in distress. They would be slaughtered. The Jews faced an impossibility and there seemed no way out.
"But," said the king, "I have an idea. I will write another edict, and this one gives the Jews permission to defend themselves against the armies that will attempt to destroy them."
In the end, the Jews rose successfully against the soldiers, and were preserved.
If I have learned anything about God in my thirty years of walking with Him, it is this. He makes the impossible possible...and He often does it in what feels like the nick of time. He makes bumblebees fly and hopeless sinners repent. He turns water to wine, and death into life. What looks like defeat miraculously becomes victory.
I can't wait to test that last helicopter Thursday.....
Esther 4: 7-14
Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king's presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people. Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, "All the king's officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king."
When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?"
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