Today God Is First
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2,
by Os Hillman
“…My grace is sufficient for you….” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
If you are older than 35, you may recall the early days of the space program. I remember the early spacecraft launch with John Glenn. One of the most exciting and tense moments of his return to earth was his reentry to the earth’s atmosphere. I recall the diagram on television of the heat shield on the capsule that had to withstand incredible temperatures to avoid complete destruction. There was a blackout period for several minutes in which mission control had no radio contact. He was in the “black hole.” It was a tense time. Either he would make it through, or the spacecraft would burn up in the atmosphere. There were several minutes of silence that seemed like an eternity. Then, mission control shouted with joy when they reestablished contact with the spacecraft. It was a time of rejoicing.
Have you ever had a time when you were in a spiritual black hole in your life? I have. The pressure was unbearable. No sense of God’s presence. No sense of anything going on around me. God was about as far away as the man in the moon – at least from my perspective. I think every Christian who is called to make a significant difference in his world experiences times like these. These are the times when we question the reality of God, the love of God, the personal care of God. And He demonstrates to us that He was there all the time. These are “faith experiences” that God does in every person who is called to a higher level of relationship with Him. These times are needful in order to know that we have the “heat shield” that can withstand the incredible heat that comes when we follow Him with a whole heart – a heart that is radical in a commitment to fully follow His ways. Elisha had that spirit. He slaughtered his 12 oxen and burned his plowing equipment so that he would not have the opportunity to return to anything if God didn’t come through (see 1 Kings 19:21).
The apostle Paul asked God to remove the heat from his own life one time. God’s answer was not what he wanted to hear.
But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! (2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP)
How’s your heat shield today? Can it withstand the heat that would want to burn up everything in your life not based in Him? Christ said, “My grace is sufficient.” Is that really true in your life? Let His grace be your shield today.
“…for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
On February 20, 1962, at 9:47 A.M., the spacecraft Friendship 7 rose on a pillar of fire, piloted by lone astronaut John Glenn. Leaving the coast of Florida far behind, the space capsule orbited the earth three times, traveling 81,000 miles in less than four hours. As the craft began its descent from space, mission controllers in Houston received a warning signal. A sensor indicated that the capsule’s heat shield was in danger of detaching. If the heat shield came loose during reentry, the capsule would burn like a meteor–and John Glenn would die.
Because radio waves cannot penetrate plasma, the spacecraft experienced a total communications blackout–what astronauts and mission controllers call a “black hole”.
The minutes crawled by and the suspense mounted in the Houston control room. NASA engineers felt totally helpless. Finally, after five minutes of silence, mission controllers heard Glenn’s voice crackling over the radio: “Friendship 7 to Houston?”
Shouts of joy shook the control room. John Glenn was coming home. Although neither Glenn nor the mission controllers knew it at the time, the heat shield was absolutely firm and reliable. The fears for John Glenn’s safety during his black hole experience were unfounded.
If you’ve ever been through a major crisis, you probably know what a communications “black hole” feels like. While you are in the pit of adversity, you feel that your world is collapsing, that your life is out of control–and that God is silent. The silence of a black hole is deafening. You feel isolated and alone. You question God’s love, His care for you, and even His existence.
But even when it seems that God is distant and silent, your “heat shield” is still there, firm and reliable. In your black hole experience, God is teaching you to go deeper into your relationship with Him. You may think that your life is out of control and burning like a meteor, but in reality God, your heat shield, still protects you from the fiery forces that surround you.
Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.