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Archive for December, 2011

The Earth Shook

At Cape Canaveral I watched the amazing launch of the Mars Science Lab. I felt privileged, witnessing such an extraordinary sight. It was breathtaking. I awoke early to meet the bus for the ride to the launch viewing area. After arriving at the viewing area with twelve hundred other VIP guests, I found a place to sit among the few hundred chairs set up in a parking lot. Others stood or sat in the grass nearby. Four miles away, the launch pad looked tiny. I listened for the countdown.

At T minus one hour thirty five minutes I settled in to do a couple of my favorite things. I people-watched and read my kindle until about T minus ten minutes. At T minus five minutes the loudspeakers announced, “It’s a go.” The crowd cheered. I looked into the blue sky, noticing dark clouds I saw earlier on the way to the bus turned fluffy white.

Up until that moment everything could have been called off. I would have made my way back to the bus with eleven hundred ninety-nine other disappointed spectators and left. In fact, this happened when I viewed the launch of the Mars Reconnaissance Obiter (MRO) five years ago.

After the “It’s a go announcement” I jockeyed for a viewing spot, like everyone else. The crowd began counting with the loudspeakers at ten-nine-eight and then zero. I expected to see liftoff but nothing happened until the loudspeakers said “ignition start” and then “lift off.” The huge rocket seemed to explode at the base, moving a few feet into the air and hanging there, deciding whether or not to continue. Then, slowly at first, it began its ascent. The rocket picked up speed and broke through clouds, the bright fire at the end of the rocket glowing. All I heard were oohs and ahs from the crowd. Then I heard a loud rumble; I felt the earth shake. The sound and fury of liftoff took twenty seconds to reach us. By then the rocket had disappeared into the distance.

The great accomplishments of man often seem larger than life. Yet, I wondered how this breathtaking event would change the course of history? Scientists may find some kind of ancient microscopic life embedded in frozen flakes on a Martian rock. I asked the Lord what this exploration will do for mankind or how it will change history and He reminded me of something even more dramatic that changed the lives of all mankind and the course of history.

He decided centuries in advance how to save His people and prepared for it throughout all recorded history. It wasn’t years of preparation, it was millennia. When He launched His plan for salvation of humanity, He didn’t need a launch pad and two point five billion dollars to bring it to fruition.

All Heaven rejoiced when angels learned the plan was in place and ready for ignition. Heaven rocked, but the earth lay still. Joy overflowed the bounds of Heaven. Myriads of angels appeared to shepherds in fields herding their sheep.

The light of the world came into the world on a night when there was no room at the inn. He was born in a lowly place and placed in a manger. The earth didn’t shake, men didn’t cheer with wild enthusiasm, but His birth changed the course of history. Lives changed, and calendars changed. Nothing will ever be the same. His life is the light of all men. He came to show us how to live. When He died, His death shook the earth to its core as He took on the sin of the world. His light will never go out and shines through the clouds in our lives. He left this earth, but He’s coming back, and when He does nothing will be the same for any of us.

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