Thursday, April 3, 2003
They were almost home. Then suddenly the white plume trail of the Shuttle Columbia fragmented into an unthinkable personal and national tragedy. And in a moment, six of America's best and brightest - along with an acclaimed Israeli hero - were gone. Once again, President George Bush had to address a nation stunned by another violent tragedy. What he said was all about "going home."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Shuttled Home."
Our word for today from the Word of God is actually the Scripture the President used so powerfully that awful day that the Columbia and its crew were lost. It seemed as if the words had been written for that very day. They're in Isaiah 40:26. "Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens; Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing." And then, with his eyes glistening, the President then said, "The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the Shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth but we can pray they are safely home."
The newspaper in the hometown of Rick Husband, the Shuttle Commander said, "Amarillo Hero Called Home." You know, that's a call that every one of us will receive, maybe as unexpectedly as the shuttle crew did that day. Just to look at today's obituary page is a reminder that, for any of us, the journey can end at any time. It's important to know that when our flight is over, we'll be 'safely Home" - with the God who made us.
When Jesus described the heaven He was preparing, His disciples asked, "How can we know the way" to get to heaven? (John 14:4) Jesus' answer? "I am the way and the truth and the life." (John 14:6) According to Jesus, the way to get Home isn't a religion or a list of qualifying good works. He said the "way" is a person - and the person is Jesus. The Bible explains that although most of us want to - even expect to - end up in heaven when we die, not all of us will make it Home. It's the perfect Home of a perfect God. And we can't get in as long as we're carrying the sin-baggage of a lifetime.
But in 1 Peter 3:18, the Bible says, "Christ died for our sins ... the righteous (that's Him) for the unrighteous (that's us), to bring you to God." The way Home passes by an old wooden cross - where Jesus paid the price to get us Home. There is no greater peace in all the world than knowing you're ready for eternity, whenever and however it comes. That you now belong to the One who "brings out the starry host one by one and calls them by name."
He might be calling your name today, quietly tugging on your heart to turn from your sin and put your life in the hands of Jesus. Tell Him, "Jesus, You died for me - I'm Yours from this moment on." If you're ready to make that life-giving commitment to Him, I want to send you my booklet, "Yours For Life." It's all about being sure you belong to Jesus.
None of us knows how much longer our personal flight will last. We can know that whenever and however it ends, we're ready. We're forgiven. Which means that when you've had your last moment on earth, it will simply mean that you're Home. Safely Home.