NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken were replacing the lithium ion batteries on the International Space Station Friday morning when a piece of Cassidy’s spacesuit broke off and floated away. This does not sound like good news.
However, the part in question was Cassidy’s left wrist mirror. Astronauts wear them on both wrists so they can see labels, switches, and actuators on their suits that are otherwise out of view. Cassidy used the mirror on his right wrist for the rest of the spacewalk, so there was no harm done.
According to NASA, this was the seventh spacewalk for both Cassidy and Behnken. They will conduct a similar spacewalk on Wednesday.
Behnken told CNN, “I really look forward to the views of the Earth when we get a free moment. I think each astronaut, when they go out on their first spacewalk, they’re really focused on trying to get all the activities accomplished and do a good job so that they can probably get a chance to do another one if the opportunity presents itself.
“But after you’ve done a couple and know what to expect as you go through it, it is important to, you know, take some mental photographs, some mental images, or remember what it was like to be outside.”
A parable for our culture and the promise of good news
This story serves as a parable for our culture.
Humanity has never been as technologically advanced as we are today. Repairing batteries on an orbiting space station is something previous generations could not have imagined. Nor would they have anticipated a digitally connected world in which these words written in Dallas can be read around the globe.
However, no matter our scientific advances, we are finite and fallen. A virus that began in China has, as of today, caused more than five hundred thousand deaths worldwide. An economy that was setting positive records a few months ago is setting negative records today.
And our “spacesuits” are flawed and will one day cease to function. The best way to prepare for that day is to dedicate our lives and service to the Creator of the universe today, taking “mental photographs” of his blessings and living this day for his highest glory and our greatest good.
Here’s the problem: achievement can become hubris. Advances in our understanding of God’s creation can lead us to neglect God and to enthrone ourselves in his place.
A Russian cosmonaut once returned from space and said, “Some people say that God lives out there. I looked around, and I didn’t see any God out there.” Ruth Graham, Billy’s wife, said he looked in the wrong place. If he’d stepped outside the spaceship without a spacesuit, he would have seen God very quickly.
One day her prediction will become our reality. One day we will “appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
If we will live this day as if it were that day, the imminence of judgment and eternity will come as good news. If we will not, it will not.
Which will be true for you today?