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Columbia debris and the power of God

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Debris from space shuttle Columbia is laid out on the floor of this hangar at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, June 4, 2003. Credit: Reuters/Karl Ronstrom

Officials may have discovered a piece of the Space Shuttle Columbia in Lake Nacogdoches, 160 miles northeast of Houston. The record drought which has gripped our state has lowered lake levels everywhere. With Lake Nacogdoches down nine feet, authorities found a large round object, four feet in diameter, which appears to be a tank of some kind. Debris from Columbia has been found in more than 2,000 locations across eastern Texas and western Louisiana, perhaps in this lake as well.

Scientists are announcing a much more pleasant celestial discovery today. They have found Earth’s first Trojan asteroid—a rock which shares our solar orbit and leads us around the sun like a tugboat pulling an ocean liner. The asteroid, given the glamorous name 2010 TK7, is nearly 1,000 feet in diameter and leads us by about 500 million miles. The bad news is that it could destroy a major city if it collided directly with our planet. The good news is that since it is locked ahead of us in our planetary path, it never will.

A much larger celestial companion is the asteroid Vesta, now being explored by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. About five percent of the meteorites that fall to our planet were originally part of this giant rock, with a surface area twice the size of California. The good news is that it’s more than 100 million miles away, so it can’t do much to ruin your morning.

We don’t know what we don’t know. I just looked up an appealing devotional fact: according to the Centers for Disease Control, your computer keyboard is home to 64 bacteria per square inch; your mouse is inhabited by 50 bacteria per square inch. Radio, television, and Internet signals fill the air around you. The fact that you can’t see them makes them no less real.

It is the same with the Kingdom: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). God’s Spirit is unseen, but submission to his power is the key to a day filled with direction and joy. God’s purpose for your life is unseen, but surrender to his will is the key to a life of eternal significance.

Your culture will measure you today by what it can see. Paul disagreed: “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Harvard professor and minister James Freeman Clarke was right: “All the strength and force of man comes from his faith in things unseen. He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.”

How strong are your convictions today?