Some historical events, relative to this time of year, serves to bring us today’s editorial lesson. There are three such events that perhaps only a trivia nut such as myself would be aware of, that help to illustrate a most important lesson subject. Actually, THE most important lesson that we can consider. That subject - what the condition of our soul is at any given time. Let’s look first at the events and then make the application to our lesson.
Last Friday, the 27th of January, 2017, was the 50th year anniversary of a tragedy occurring at Cape Canaveral, Florida. On 1-27-1967 a sudden fire in the capsule of the Apollo 1 spacecraft snuffed out the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.
Nineteen years later, almost to the day, on January 28th, 1986, the spaceship “Challenger” exploded just 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral taking the lives of the seven crew members on board. It was subsequent to this event that President Reagan said, “We watched as they waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”
Then, interestingly to the time, seventeen years later, again almost to the day, on February 1st, 2003, the spaceship “Columbia” disintegrated upon reentry killing all seven astronauts on board.
Don’t you find it interesting that all three of these space disasters occurred within six days of each other, albeit 37 years apart? But, the time proximity of these events is not the reason for my using them as the catalyst for my thoughts today. No, it’s the suddenness with which they occurred, as in - one minute things are going as planned, as normal (if anything about space and spacecrafts is normal) and then - it’s all over. Or, perhaps as the common phrase says it - in a flash.
I think that we’d all agree that in all three events the ones that perished were physically prepared for their mission. The question is, how prepared were their souls? You do realize that the “soul” has a mission, don’t you? Simply stated, that mission is to return to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7) in the same condition in which it was issued.
Yes, every soul returns to God and man has no control over exactly when that return trip will be. What we do have control over is the condition in which it returns. Or otherwise said, the condition with which it’s received by God. It was pure when it was issued and if you intend it to live eternally in heaven with God, it has to return in that condition.
The only way that can happen is that it has been cleaned according to the only scriptural cleaning instructions and the only cleansing agent - the “blood of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 1:5) If you’ve ever wondered what is the ultimate priority of your life it’s this - the condition of your soul when it returns to God.
Oh, we may live a long life and die in peaceful surroundings. But then, it might end otherwise, or as Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 5:3, “sudden destruction” can come upon us as it did with our astronauts and countless other souls.
We need to heed Christ’s warning found in Matt. 24:42 and be prepared at all times because we don’t know when the time of our soul’s departure will be. The wise man Solomon said it this way: “Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy (beyond healing).” (Prov. 6:15)
Yes, the mission of the astronauts was important to the space program, but not near as important as the mission of our soul. We know how prepared they were for their mission of space exploration, but we don’t know how prepared their souls were when they came face to face with God. Let’s hope that they were also prepared spiritually.
But, we should be more concerned about the condition of our own souls’ because we too will someday “slip the surly bonds of earth” and, as it were, “touch the face of God.” However and whenever that event comes to us shouldn’t matter if our soul is prepared.
In closing, I’m reminded of the words of an old “invitation” hymn entitled: “Prepare to Meet Thy God.” The final words of the chorus are these: “O how sad to face the judgment, Unprepared to meet thy God.” The prescription for avoiding that “calamity” is to follow Christ’s warning and have our soul prepared to be called home at any time.