Today, I'd like to share one of his stories with you. Picture this:
A handsome, young sailor receives deployment orders. Because he rides around the world on submarines, he is not at liberty to share his destination, but his orders indicate that he should return stateside within 10 weeks, barring an extension. The morning of deployment he strides into his command center to retrieve his travel information and prepare his trek to the airport.
On this day, his travel orders are a little different than usual. He is informed that he will rendezvous with his assigned vessel "at sea". He becomes slightly nervous but also very excited. This news indicates that he may be bumming a ride out to an aircraft carrier aboard one of the world's fastest and most technologically advanced navel jets. As he arrives at the military airstrip, this exciting suspicion is confirmed as the van approaches his "ride".
"You ever fly before?", asked the weathered looking pilot.
"No, not on one of these." replies the young sailor. As he climbs into the aircraft, the pilot responds with, "This is the best ride in the theme park." When the sailor takes his seat he is suddenly aware, in a realistic way, how powerful this little jet is. He doesn't have a little lap belt sitting across his thighs like the commercial airliners. Instead, he finds himself in a helmet and full flight harness that secures his entire torso. In short order the jets fire up and the aircraft taxis out onto the runway. The jet's liftoff and ascension into the heavens was unlike anything he could ever imagine.
After a while, he is notified they are approaching their destination - an aircraft carrier undulating upon the surface of the open seas. Aboard the aircraft carrier flight deck personnel are scrambling to clear the landing strip and secure the landing cable as they communicate with the pilot. Suddenly this young sailor realizes that the landing strip is moving. His heart begins racing and beating so hard it could be seen through his uniform. He sees the landing strip rocking up and down and left and right and not only is it MOVING, it's incredibly SHORT and they are going incredibly FAST! The young man silently thinks, "what have I gotten myself into?", "OH! no, there ain't no way this guy can land this thing on that". "These people are CRAZY!"
As the plane rapidly descends, it sways left, then right, then left again as it enters a dance with its moving target. As the first time passenger hears the screech of landing gear hit the tarmac he feels the full force of his safety harness and gear keeping him safely in his seat while almost at the same time, he suddenly hears the jet engines scream with force and he receives the full impact of a G-force thrust. His eyes find his little window only to realize the jet is descending toward the ocean surface and the aircraft carrier is behind them. As the jet engines continue to howl and scream with all their power and force the aircraft banks hard to the left and the young sailor watches the tip of its wing lightly graze the white caps of the ocean surface.
When the young sailor regained consciousness the aircraft was sitting safely on the aircraft carrier's tarmac and the flight deck personnel was securing everything so they could disembark. It took a total of three landing attempts before the aircraft safely hooked the landing cable. It was the most thrilling, exhilarating and terrifying experience of the young sailor's life.
This particular young sailor was our JP.
Like many youngsters growing up in the Bible belt and being home schooled, JP was naturally a church kid. Some of his childhood friends are pursuing the mission field or other full-time ministry positions. Some are pursuing various career paths in business, education or engineering while a few others, like JP, are also serving in the U.S. military. Growing up a "church kid" doesn't guarantee a lifetime commitment to Christ. As a matter of fact, statistics show that more than 65% (some are as high as 80%) of "church kids" leave the church when they enter college or as they pursue careers. Often times these youngsters have believed the lie that they don't have to serve the Lord today because they can repent and "get right" with God before they die. They foolishly believe that if they are sick or diagnosed with a terminal illness they will have time to make amends with God. In many situations this may be true, but what about the situations where the illness causes severe delirium or a comatose state? They foolishly believe that if faced with a sudden unexpected catastrophe or accident they will within microseconds cry out to Jesus for eternal salvation. However, the reality, like JP's flight experience, doesn't allow those few seconds of clear thinking. As soon as JP realized his plane may crash into the ocean, his heart rate, sudden onset of fear and shock literally caused him to pass out. In his situation, JP didn't have a millisecond to cry out to his Father God and Savior.
If you, or your loved ones, find yourself (s) believing the lie that you will have time to "make things right" with God before you die ... If you find yourself or your loved ones thinking," someday, I'll commit my life to Christ", please stop and consider JP's experience. The time to get right with the Lord is NOW.
Admit you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Believe in Jesus. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Confess that Jesus is your Lord. Romans 10:9-10 "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."