Keep your minds set on higher things… Colossians 3:2
Just over 20 years ago I had the unique and unforgettable privilege of interviewing one of the American astronauts who travelled into space on the Apollo 15 Lunar Mission – the late Colonel James B. Irwin. I had just started working on my writing career and I happened to be working for a publisher who planned a feature article about Irwin under a headline, ‘The Journey of a Lifetime’. And what an incredible journey Colonel Irwin’s life proved to be – from Jim’s lifelong dream to become a fighter jet test pilot, to his frightening near fatal crash in the Arizona desert which almost ended his career, to Jim’s amazing recovery and realization of his biggest dream of all – the opportunity to become an astronaut and travel into space. Appointed to the Apollo 15 mission, Irwin walked on the moon and collected a ‘white rock’ from the lunar surface, which Jim described as a remarkable discovery given the endless landscape of dust. In total, Jim spent 295 hours and eleven minutes in space. He was a great adventurer, a brave explorer, a gifted spokesperson, and a humble and fervent believer in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. I was most saddened to learn of Jim’s untimely death at the age of sixty-one just a few short years after our interview.
Jim spoke about the precise and extremely detailed and intense planning and timing required to make the Apollo Mission a success. A health issue while on the mission could have taken his life, but amazingly, Jim survived the pressure of reentry. Jim’s life and destiny were challenged even as he pursued his greatest dream, but he never gave up. I will never forget Jim’s emphasis as he spoke about his life and said that the most important destination in life isn’t about arriving at the apex of our career or success or dream. This life is a short journey. Jim spoke about the most important destination in life being our final destination. Part of Jim’s great discipline in life was his ability to stay focused on his goals and never give up. Jim always looked for higher ground. He also lived with an acute certainty of faith that this short time each of us is given on earth is far too profound to be dismissed as anything less than an incredible gift from an awesome, holy, loving, and indescribably great God.
If you don’t believe in God, He knows you. I encourage you to get to know Him before your journey’s done. Please read His living letter to you – The Bible. Now is the acceptable time. Today is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2
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