1 Thessalonians 5:17 and Space Flight
* We are on journey from earthly life to eternal home in heaven
* Spacecraft make many micro adjustments to trajectory during journey
* Seemingly insignificant course corrections are necessary
* All we have to do is keep our eyes fixed on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
By FRANK DEFREITAS for WONDERS OF THE BIBLE
PUBLISHED: January 1, 2019 | UPDATED: February 2, 2019
One is not likely to find many references to space flight trajectories when reading commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:17: the famous "Pray without ceasing" verse given by Paul. What could the connection possibly be?
The shared connection has to do with getting from point A to point B: both in outer space, and in life. In the instance of a spacecraft, it is traveling from the earth to our moon or another planet. With a person, we are (hopefully) on a journey from this earthly life to our eternal home in heaven.
Let us first examine a spacecraft. We will use the new 2018 NASA Parker Solar Probe as our example.
The NASA Parker Solar Probe was launched on August 12, 2018. It is a completely robotic spacecraft that will probe the outer corona of the Sun. As with all spacecraft, it doesn't just travel from the Earth to its destination. It must monitor its travels, and make many micro adjustments to its trajectory during its journey. These adjustments are technically referred to as "trajectory correction maneuvers" (or TCM's). The famous Apollo missions to the moon had to make them, as did every other mission sent to venus, mars, or beyond.
They are needed because everything gets "off course" now and then.
Taking the speed of the spacecraft into consideration, it is not possible to stop and make a sharp left or right hand turn if the onboard navigation system finds itself off course. The NASA Parker Solar Probe will travel at a speed of 430,000 MPH (700,000 KPH) at its closest approach to the Sun. How fast is that? Well, it is possible to go from New York to Washington, D.C. in under two seconds. Think about that!
These corrections in navigation do not last very long. Due to the inner solar system having very little gravity, along with no earthly atmospheric gases for resistance, a quick spurt to a small thruster is very effective. Many times they are completed in a fraction of a second. However, do not discount the importance of such small, seemingly insignificant course corrections. Without them, over large distances of millions of miles, the spacecraft would overshoot its intended target by many hundreds, if not thousands of miles.
In 1999, with the Mars Climate Orbiter, the mission trajectory correction maneuvers were miscalculated … and the $193 million (US) dollar spacecraft was never heard from again.
Don't make the same mistake with your own journey to God's glorious eternal kingdom.
With frequent prayer, particularly as mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, we have the ability to make the same micro adjustments as we navigate our lives through a world that reeks with sin. We should not wait until a major left or right hand course correction is necessary in our lives. When our prayer life contains many "micro" prayers throughout each and every day, we can make the necessary trajectory adjustments along the way.
TCM prayers are short recognitions, such as giving thanks for a new day, or for keeping family, friends and others in mind. They can be short prayers for patience; for counseling and comforting others; for forgiveness; for strength in bearing wrongs; for countering hatred, doubt and darkness. And, most importantly, for loving others as Jesus Christ loves us.
All throughout the day, we can keep ourselves on the path by remembering our TCM prayers: "Dear Lord Jesus … thank you for this new day"; "Thank you for this wonderful hot shower."; "Thank you for the food that I have to eat today."; "Thank you for this coat that keeps me warm."; "Help me show love to everyone I meet today."; and so on.
Oh yes dear friend, we are certainly going to fall short every day of our lives. And when we fall short, we are getting off course. Monitor the progress of your trajectory!
Just as navigators of old would fix on a heavenly star to find their way home, all we have to do is keep our eyes fixed on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Won't you give TCM prayers a try … and experience your own "trajectory correction maneuvers" throughout each and every day.
(above): Did You Know: Wonders of the Bible has its name on the NASA Parker Solar Probe.
Frank DeFreitas is a retired science and technology consultant that has worked in the Nobel prize-winning fields of lasers and holography his entire adult life. He is the founder of the outreach ministry "Wonders of the Bible" FULL BIO HERE.
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