"Houston, we have a problem!"

“You do not want to leave too, do you?”Jesus asked the Twelve.  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”      John: 67-68

Tom Hanks has assembled a massive body of work that has established him as an actor of the first order.  One of my all-time favorite Tom Hanks movies is “Apollo 13.”  Roger Ebert called it, "a powerful story… told with great clarity and remarkable technical detail, and acted without pumped-up histrionics."

"Apollo 13," told the true story of the space flight that nearly ended in disaster. Three days into their mission to the moon, the crew runs through a normally routine in-flight “housekeeping” checklist.  In the process of stirring the cryogenic oxygen tank, an electrical switch failed.  The explosion that resulted crippled the Service Module.  That module provided the power, oxygen, and water needed to keep the astronauts alive. At this point Astronaut James Lovell (portrayed by Hanks) utters the movie’s most memorable line… "Houston, we have a problem."

The astronauts took refuge in the Lunar Module, and began their desperate attempt to get back to Earth. They shut down the computer to conserve power, but that left them in an enormous predicament — how to steer the spacecraft during a 30-second burn of the main engines that was required to correct their course.  Failure would cause them to miss the small window of opportunity to return to earth.

 Jim Lovell, the commander, came up with a solution. The astronauts had a small window. Lovell thought that they could keep the spacecraft on track by looking through that window and keeping Earth in sight. That's what they did and it worked! By keeping their eyes fixed on Mother Earth, they were able to successfully steer their spacecraft back home.

Our story is not much different...  "Houston, we have a problem."   The crisis common to all of us is our sinfulness and broken nature.  We’re not comfortable with that kind of language, but if something isn’t done our outcome will be the same as it would have been for astronauts of “Apollo 13.”  We will lose our direction to safety. 

I can only imagine the doubt, fear and discouragement that threatened to overtake the crew of “Apollo 13.”  The cares and challenges that we encounter can deflect our attention… scatter our focus away from that which gives us direction.  We can lose our way.  We must not allow ourselves to be diverted from the one thing that will save us.        

The solution for us is similar to that of the astronauts.  Long ago, God provided the answer to our waywardness.   There is only one way for the follower of Christ to successfully navigate the hazards that are part of living in this fallen world.  Rev. Richard Halverson, Presbyterian Pastor and Chaplain to the U. S. Senate (1981-1994)said, “Jesus Christ is God's everything for our total need.” We need to keep our eyes centered on Jesus. If we will make Jesus the point in our sky by which we steer — we can avoid all sorts of danger and make it safely home.  And what a homecoming that will be!