The Final Frontier

Sir Richard Branson made history on Sunday as the first billionaire to go into space. Riding in his Virgin Galactic plane, the VMS Eve, he and five employees flew to an altitude of 50,000 feet and then rocketed in the smaller VSS Unity to a point 53 miles above the earth—just crossing over the demarcation into what is considered "space." The view was great, and there were a few moments of weightlessness, of course, before gliding back to earth. "The whole thing was magical," he said—a lifelong dream fulfilled at age 71.

Branson had wanted to beat fellow billionaire, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, to be the first privately-financed space adventurer—and he made if by about a week. Bezos lifts off on July 20.

Well, it wasn't the stuff of Mercury, Gemini, or Apollo, and he didn't land on the moon. But it was something. He didn't explore the depths of the universe—but he touched the edge of it. And that's more than you or I have done.

It all makes me think about the rich spiritual life that God desires us to experience and how we often shrink back from taking the adventure. Moses led the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery (a symbol of our lost, sinful state) to freedom (our salvation through Christ)—but he had a very difficult time getting them into the "land of milk and honey,” the Promised Land (a symbol of the Spirit-filled life). In fact, he never quite got them there. It would be Joshua who had that privilege.

Do you remember the two tribes, Gad and Reuben, who didn't want to go? They went to Moses and asked permission to stay on the eastern side of the Jordan.

"Do not make us cross the Jordan,” they said (Numbers 32:5)—and they didn't.

Many people are Christians—glad for their salvation—but content to just stay on the fringe. To touch the hem, but remain on the edge of it all. Often unsatisfied and rather miserable, too.

There is so much more to the Christian life than just having our sins forgiven and a ticket for heaven punched. The LORD wants us to experience joy, victory, and the assurance of salvation. The opportunity and ability to bring others into a relationship with Christ. A life of effective service that is saturated with God and has the lingering fragrance of Jesus upon it. (Read Hebrews 4)

Continued growth and amazement at what God is able to do.

I find myself longing for that. I want to go further than I have. To cross the line and then to keep on going into all that God has for me.

Even as a child at the dawn of the US space program, I realized that I would not live long enough to take a ride to galaxies far, far away. But later, when I had a son, I thought maybe his generation would.  Now I'm not so sure about that either. But Richard Branson's exploits above the New Mexican desert on Sunday show me that someday, somebody will. The little children coming to our church each Sunday perhaps.

Still--there is a fantastic journey we are all invited to take—right now. An adventure following Jesus wherever He might take us. Let's not miss it!

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