When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! I’ll get up, go to my father…” Luke 15:17-18a
Houston, we have a problem. The words rambled around the silent control center. There was trouble in space and men’s lives were hanging in the balance. It wasn’t as bad as they thought. It was worse—much worse. The command module of Apollo 13 was damaged beyond use and their only hope was a frail lifeboat called the lunar module. They were off course, a long way from home, and running out of oxygen. Their prospects were beyond bleak. The morale breaker was, as the crew commander said, “We just lost the moon.” Perhaps, just perhaps, you can identify with them. Our world is laden with things that might cause some of us to doubt our survivability. But don’t lose hope because help is on the way. More on that later.
The plan was to bring the spacecraft around the moon and slingshot it back on its way to earth. They passed within twenty-five miles of the moon. Twenty-five miles. The explosion had made the possibility of a moon landing an impossibility. They could look but not touch. The thing they had planned for, trained for and risked their lives for, slipped silently between their fingers. Crises can do that, you know. As COVID circled the globe, we lost the moon…we lost our purpose…we lost our dreams. Businesses were closed, churches were closed and families were left jobless and isolated. But don’t lose hope because help is on the way. More on that later.
As they rounded the moon they were slung by the moon’s gravity toward the earth. Still problem after problem arose and had to be overcome. They were literally running out of oxygen. Unless they found a way to “scrub” the air and make it more breathable, they would die. Amazingly, the guys on the ground literally created a way to do that, and then shared with the crew how to do it there. The ground guys had one rule. They could only use what the guys in space had to use. So with some scraps, a roll of duct tape and a hose or two they made it happen. Their situation probably seemed a little like your situation. Pretty hard, pretty difficult, nearly impossible, but don’t lose hope because help is on the way. More on that later.
As they neared the earth they grew ever closer to the most dangerous obstacle of all—reentry. If they were just a fraction of a degree off, if the heat shield didn’t hold, if there were any of a thousand things not quite right—they would burn up in the super heated friction of our atmosphere. Their back was against the wall and their chances were slanted in the wrong direction. So many people feel the same way today. I know because I see it and sometimes I feel it. Mine is caused by frustration…frustration that there are too many things that I can’t control. I want to fix it and I can’t—neither one of us can. We have a choice—we can lose hope and “burn up on reentry” or we can refuse to lose hope and believe because—help is on the way.
Remember the “more on that later”—well later is now. You see, those astronauts had to believe—they had to have faith. They had to choose to believe. They did and miraculously they had a near perfect entry and landing. It was amazing. And just like when the guys landed on the moon just a few months earlier—the crowds went wild again. They needed some good news and they got it. Their world was racked by division over the Vietnam War, mistrust in the government, crazy economics, racial divide and a thousand other things. That one miraculous victory helped, at least for the moment, to pull their world back together.
That’s what we need now…that one miraculous victory. And as much as we need a cure for the virus, or the right political victory or some other “deal,” we need to regain our spiritual equilibrium. In every major crisis, this nation somehow righted itself and somehow managed to find enough faith to believe—in God. Some who knew Him rediscovered Him. Some who had walked away—walked straight back home into His arms. Some who had never believed found the faith to start. Miracles do happen…everyday.
Maybe, just maybe, the safety, the security, the hope you are looking for is not in a piece of cloth or a vaccine or a political victory. Maybe, just maybe, it is in a God who wants to be your Father. Why not take a moment and take a rest—in Him? And then, ask Him to help you believe that—He’s got this.