Strength from Adversity

Radiation doesn’t wait to be invited. It’s influence can seem negligible or highly dangerous depending on the type of radiation and the amount. But the radiation that this article talked about was definitely the dangerous variety. That’s obvious enough based on the location, since the site was bathed in left over radiation from the disastrous meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine in 1986. This nuclear disaster has received attention in books and the media recently and it could rightly be called the worst industrial disaster in the 20th century. Even today, after a large-scale decontamination project and careful monitoring, there are parts of the ruins of the facilities that are strictly off-limits to humans. A huge, steel safe containment shield was built, the largest moveable steel structure every constructed that will envelope the ruins to contain the nuclear waste. Chernobyl-level radiation is bad news for any living organism. Or is it? This recent article by Christopher Carbone reports that a particular type of black fungi have actually developed the ability to “eat” nuclear radiation. They are subsisting off of this stuff! Instead of merely weathering the toxic waves, their using it as fuel (Carbone). For the researchers studying the fungi, their initial anticipation that a humble organism like this would be wiped out by such hazardous radiation was transformed into amazement as they saw it thrive not in spite of the hazards, but because of the hazards.

Psalm 30 echoes a similarly amazing thought through an anthem of praise and petition to our Powerful, Heavenly King. The psalmist writes, “To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper! You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your prais and no be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” (Psalm 30:8-12) The Psalm starts with the initial anticipation of death and despair, bemoaning the irony of returning to dust rather than praising our King, but the Psalm ends with a complete turnaround. The mourning has been turned into dancing because we serve an unconquerable Sovereign. So even though this world can trample us down, we can rest assured that our Savior does have victory in store despite circumstances. Even though we may not see the victory in this life, we know assuredly the end of the story.

Carbone, Christopher. “Chernobyl shocker as fungi that eats radiation found inside nuclear reactor.” Science. Fox News. 6 February 2020. Accessed February 18, 2020. Online.