Prior to a routine shutdown on April 25, 1986, the reactor crew at Chernobyl-4 in the Ukraine began preparing for a test to determine how long turbines would spin and supply power following a loss of main electrical power. Similar tests had already been carried out at Chernobyl and other plants, despite the fact that these reactors were known to be very unstable at low power settings.
In order to perform this test, the operators had to disable a number of automatic shutdown systems. The computers told them that a manual shut down of the reactor was not recommended, but to perform the required test, they had to override the safety protocols built into the system.
As the flow of coolant water diminished, power output increased. When the operator moved to shut down the reactor from its unstable condition, a dramatic power surge occurred. The fuel elements ruptured and the resulting explosive force of steam lifted off the cover plate of the reactor, releasing radioactive material into the atmosphere. A second explosion threw out fragments of burning fuel and graphite from the core and allowed air to rush in, causing the reactor to burst into flames.
The Chernobyl disaster happened because the people responsible for the safe operation of reactor 4 chose to ignore the safety features built into the reactor. We can cause a meltdown of a different kind when we ignore the safety features for life that God gives us in His Word. Like the protocols for the safe shutdown of a reactor, the Bible tells us when we are getting into a dangerous situation and advises us to change our course of action. If we ignore the gentle nudges or strong insisting of the Holy Spirit, we may find that we must deal with our own version of Chernobyl.
Lord, we are grateful for the guidance You give us in Your Word and for the inner witness of Your Spirit. Help us to remain sensitive to the still, small voice that urges us to live in a way that gives honor to You.
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