Fate of the Challenger came without warning

Just over twenty-five years ago many of us watched in horror as the events of the Space Shuttle Challenger unfolded before our eyes. We watched what was a seemingly flawless lift off of the Space Shuttle. We watched as it ascended into the heavens and then in horror we watched as “without warning” it all ended.

In a fraction of a second the shuttle was no more. In a fraction of a second seven souls were thrust into eternity. In a fraction of a second mothers and fathers were robbed of their children, wives were robbed of their husbands, children were robbed of their parents, and a husband was robbed of his wife.

A s commentator after commentator spoke about the tragedy that had just occurred on that January day in 1986 the Lord brought to mind the thought that the life and death of we humans are closely parallel to the ill-fated flight of the challenger.

Senator John Glenn stated, “We knew it must happen we just did not know when.” My friends, life is like that because we know that death must happen we just do not know how or when. Should we live our lives in fear of death? Most certainly not. We must live our lives as those seven did, going boldly where we have never been before.

But we must also realize that death is not a possibility in our lives, but it is a surety. Death is our constant companion and at any given moment if God removes His hand from us, then without warning or reason, death will overtake us. Therefore, we must live our lives not fearing death but preparing for it, and the only way to prepare for death is to lay hold to eternal life. And the only way to obtain eternal life is to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

The second parallel of the challenger and life and death was the last command of mission control: “Begin throttle up.” Challenger: “Throttling up.” Satan is commanding many lives today to “throttle up” and they are responding by throttling up with too much alcohol, drugs, sex affairs, wild parties and no time or place for God in their lives.

Many live by the mottos, “Grab all the gusto you can” and “If it feels good do it.” They fail to realize that in a fraction of a second their lives could end and they would stand before God unprepared with hell being their home for eternity. This could be the fate of those who die unprepared to meet God. For as a tree falleth so shall it lie.

ABC News commentator George Will made this profound statement concerning the space shuttle tragedy, “This was to be a teaching mission but in the cruelest sense of the word America learned one of her greatest lessons.” That in our computerized, space age, technologically advanced world we can only advance as far as God will allow and the decision of life and death is His and His alone.

May I encourage you not to let your loved ones, neighbors or friends who you feel might not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior to push the thought of their death to the back of their mind saying, “I’m too young to die. I’ll think about that later,” Help them to come to terms with this question now: “If I die right now where would I spend eternity?” If the answer to that question scares them then read John 3:16 to them and tell them what they need to do to accept Jesus. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

May I leave you this week with one very sobering thought: Caskets are not made for the dead but for the living.

Quote of the week: “It is good to be seen but not viewed.” Johnny Paulk, longtime golf pro at Jekyll Island Golf Courses.