Running out the back door and looking up to the sky we sought the source of the powerful rumble. This is one of my favorite memories. As children, we knew the sound well. If you live near an airport and your community supports an airshow, you know the distinct sound as well. The Blue Angels, and occasionally the Thunderbirds, made the airspace around us their playground.
We knew they were coming. Announcements went out in various forms. There was anticipation.
With the recent sound of The Blue Angels practicing, I decided I would head to a vacant parking lot closer to the airport. On my way, I saw many other people standing outside their homes, their heads skyward. It is not just my family and not just children that react by heading outside and looking up! I knew parking lots (and the sides of some roads) filled up with spectators. Until I was on the road, I didn’t realize how many other people responded the way my family does – head out the door and look up at the sky. We don’t have to go far to see what is happening! The powerful jets are hard to ignore. From inside, we may only catch a moment – outside we can see more and that is what we want!
The photos cannot do the moments justice, but I will share some anyway.
I hesitated to share this analogy because I am not a political person. When I was a foreigner in S. Korea, I appreciated that nation’s military. The point isn’t what country’s aircraft are rumbling across the sky. The purpose of sharing this is to remind us that we, as believers, are all foreigners! Our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there!
The trees, streetlights, and wires draping from pole to pole may not seem like much, but when the jets are in the sky, these are distractions. They and so many other things, block the event from our sight. When the little things block our view of the subject, the photograph quality definitely goes down. Take a look!
In my life, worries like food and clothing get in the way. I should be focused on Christ and trust that He will do what He said He will.
Luke 12:22-26 (NIV)
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”
I wanted a better view, so I kept driving. The Blue Angels continued their show and I knew I wasn’t the only driver trying to focus on the road.
Some of my earliest video recordings, taken with my sister and cousins, are of the sky, trees, and us kids saying, “Look over there!” as we struggled to zoom in on the jets overhead.
One distinct day, my sister, cousins, and I headed out the middle of grandpa’s field. The view wasn’t blocked by trees. If you hear my cousins tell of the events of that day, the fighter jet was so low we saw a pilot wave to us. The jury is still out on that one. : )
For us, these fighter jets are exciting, fun, and even comforting.
The rumble that brings us comfort and joy could strike very different emotions in other people. Why?
We are not under attack but enjoying something that brings us together. If I were in a war-torn area, my heart would pound with fear not joy when I hear the rumble of fighter jets.
Can that even hint at what a relationship with God is like? God is just. That should cause me to fear! I am a sinner! I deserve to be separated from Him forever, to experience His wrath.
Yet, God, being rich in mercy, provided Christ Jesus as the sacrifice for my sin. Jesus died on the cross because He wanted to! He loved us that much! Yes, His love is immense. Jesus is holy! That means He is without sin. Death could not hold him! On the third day He rose again! Yes, He is alive. He has given me new life. No longer do I need to fear His punishment - I have received his mercy. That is why God is my refuge and my comfort.
Camera and Being Prepared
When the actual airshow was on, I headed outside with my newest camera. I snapped a few pictures and quickly realized I wasn’t ready! The settings were wrong.
The photos were blurry. It reminds me that we must be prepared for the return of Christ.
If my poor photography and the jets are not the greatest reminder to be prepared for the return of Christ Jesus, don't worry. Jesus has a much better picture, which is recorded in Matthew.
This parable is in Matthew 25. Ten girls are waiting for the bridegroom to come. Five girls are wise and have their lamps and oil. Five are foolish and though they brought their lamps, didn’t bring oil. All of them fell asleep, waiting.
“ 'At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
'Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
'But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
'Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.'” (Matthew 25:7-13 NIV)
Lack of Knowledge
At the (paying) airshow as a child I was confident of what my new goal should be. (Now I know I didn’t have a clue.) The airshow was so impressive that I wanted to join the Air Force so I could be a pilot for The Blue Angels… Like I said, I didn’t know! The Blue Angels are part of the Navy. The Thunderbirds fly for the Airforce.
In the parking lot this year, more and more spectators arrived. A stranger and I ended up chatting for a long time. Whenever I asked him about God, he focused on the government. It was so strange. God is not the government. In reality, we can make anything our idol. It can be health, a sport, a person, family, the education of our children, knowledge, jets, or even an earthly government.
Isaiah tells us God created the heavens! He formed the earth to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). Here is what Isaiah 45:20-22 says,
I have not spoken in secret,
from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the Lord, speak the truth;
I declare what is right.
“Gather together and come;
assemble, you fugitives from the nations.
Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood,
who pray to gods that cannot save.
Declare what is to be, present it—
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none but me.
“Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
Isn’t that the best! I love that God is calling out to all the ends of the earth! He wants everyone to come.
Since this is the case, let’s tell others about Him! We are sinners in need of a Savior. He came with mercy and grace about 2,000 years ago. We eagerly await his coming and He called those who know Him to be his ambassadors!
Let’s spread the news. We want more people to be saved, just as our Father does!
When the Lord comes, it will be obvious! Matthew 24:27 “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” We need to keep watch. Matthew 24:42 “‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
Revelation 3:19 – 20 (NIV) says, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Look to the Skies
“Look to the skies” can mean many different things.
It could be a call to admire the lights in the night sky or enjoy the clouds in the daylight. It might mean inviting someone to look at a flock of birds in the afternoon or admire a bat chase mosquitoes at dusk. It can be a call to look at the aircraft soaring above us.
If we study God’s word, the call to “look to the skies” brings anticipation of the awful and wonderful day when Jesus will come again.
Matthew 24:30-31 (NIV)
“‘Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
For those who know Christ as Savior and Lord, this day brings hope and comfort because redemption is drawing near.
Luke 21:27-28 (NIV)
“At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’”
When He comes, let’s be ready. Luke 21:34 calls us to be careful. As God’s children, we are to live in the pursuit of holiness because we love Him who is holy. We are to share his Good News with the nations. We are to look to the skies. Jesus is coming!
Lord Jesus, Thank You for coming! Please help me to be prepared to do the good work You have in mind and be ready for when I am in Your presence. Life on earth is short; please don’t let me be distracted by the things of the earth, when you have called me for Your purposes. I need You. I love you! Thank You, Lord! In Your Holy Name, Amen.
Questions to Ponder
Where have you seen reminders of Who God is?
Who will you share the love of Christ with this week?