While many are focusing on the “whistleblower” complaint against President Trump that was made public yesterday, NASA is responding to an issue that is celestial but could become terrestrial: the space agency is moving forward with plans to launch a telescope that could detect asteroids on a collision course with Earth. Why is such a telescope essential?
The day before President Trump’s now-famous conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, an asteroid named 2019 OK passed our planet. However, internal emails from NASA released this week show that the space agency was unaware of the asteroid’s presence until the last moment it passed us.
The football field-sized rock was described as a “city killer.” It passed our planet at a distance of just 48,000 miles, traveling at 55,000 miles an hour. If it had struck us, one professor says it “would have hit with over 30 times the energy of the atomic blast at Hiroshima.”
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine recently testified that an asteroid strike is perhaps Earth’s biggest threat. There are approximately 18,000 known near-Earth objects, and the number is constantly growing.
Hezbollah agent scouted Times Square
We don’t need to look to the heavens to find evidence for the frailty of life on earth.
The New York Times reports that a man trained by Hezbollah allegedly scouted Times Square as a target. Prosecutors say the individual spent years studying airports, tunnels, and bridges, looking for ways to do the most harm.
According to Forbes, people may soon be able to use 3D printers to construct weapons of mass destruction. With the proper blueprints, a WMD could be built by rogue states, terrorists, and others who have not had access to wield such powerful weapons before.
In other news, the World Health Organization recently published a report stating that a global pandemic could kill up to eighty million people. “The world is not prepared,” the report warned. Greater population density and the ability to travel anywhere in the world within thirty-six hours make it easier for disease to spread rapidly through a country and then go global.
Held forever in Jesus’ hand
To prepare for such an uncertain future, you and I need three conversions.
One is in the past tense, the experience Christians call “salvation.” If we ask Jesus Christ to forgive our sins and be the Lord of our lives, he makes us a “new creation” and gives us eternal life (2 Corinthians 5:17).
If we have made Christ our Savior, we never need to make this decision again. When we placed our faith in him, we became the children of God, held forever in Jesus’ hand (John 10:28). Then, whenever eternity comes for us, we are ready.
Giving up “my right to myself”
A second conversion is in the present tense, the daily conversion that results from daily submission to Jesus.
David Vryhof of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist notes: “The call to follow Christ is a call to a lifelong process of conversion. It requires us to let go of our former identities—built on our gifts, our achievements, and our social standing—in order to embrace a new identity in Christ. . . . It invites us to become changed people: people whose lives are characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and humility.”
This conversion is not required for our salvation, of course, but it is essential to experience the results of salvation in our daily lives.
Oswald Chambers states that “my right to myself” is “the thing God intends you to give up if ever you are going to be made a disciple of Jesus Christ.” Rabbinic disciples in Jesus’ day went where their rabbi went, lived where he lived, and did what he said.
Jesus makes the same demand of us: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). To take up your “cross” is to submit your life fully. To “follow” Jesus is to obey him unconditionally.
“Whatever it takes, whatever he asks, whatever the cost”—this is the invitation and demand of our Lord. Then, whenever eternity comes for us, we are ready.
“Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
A third conversion we need in order to prepare for eternity is in the future tense: welcoming and praying for the return of our Lord.
Like many of us, it’s hard for me to wish for heaven when things are going well on earth. When our family is blessed and our ministry is thriving, I’m tempted to value this world over the next.
By contrast, early Christians lived every day not just in the imminent expectation of Jesus’ return, but with a deep desire for their Lord to return. Revelation ends with Jesus’ testimony, “Surely I am coming soon” and John’s reply, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).
The first Christians knew that heaven would be so much better than the best of earth. Because they were committed to the first and second conversions, certain of their salvation and living every day for their Savior, his future-tense return gave them present-tense hope and joy.
Four crucial questions
Have you experienced the first conversion, the salvation of your soul?
Are you experiencing the second conversion, the present-tense submission of your life?
Right now is the best moment to say to Jesus, “Whatever it takes, whatever you ask, whatever the cost.”
Are you experiencing the third conversion, praying for and seeking the return of our Lord?
If not, why not?
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Publication Date: September 27, 2019
Photo Courtesy: Bryan Goff/Unsplash