As Mars mission ends, our yearning continues
However, the Associated Press has reported (3/24/2008) that budget cuts are forcing NASA to put one of the Mars rovers, Spirit, to sleep – possibly permanently – while the other, Opportunity, may have to go to half-duty. Sadly, both rovers are still very capable of operating and are still exploring and sending data, but "no dough, no go.\
There is, of course, much legitimate debate about just how much of the money going to NASA is well spent, and whether that money should be spent right here on earth instead of up in the heavens looking at \rocks." I certainly do not plan to weigh in on that debate here.
However, I must say that I have been very enamored with the rover missions from the start, and my children and I followed them fairly closely during their first year on Mars. We built toy models of the rovers and viewed many an animation and photograph on the Internet. I remember reading that one of the rovers (I don't recall which one) had traveled some particular distance (I don't recall how far) and taking a stroll outside our house that was roughly the same distance, just to get a feel for it. The idea of walking along such a truly distant shore was simply fascinating to me.
Profitable or wasteful, harmful or beneficial, search for truth or wild goose chase, I believe that missions such as that of these Mars rovers are products, at least in part, of the truth expressed by the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 3:11 when he says, "[God] has put eternity in their hearts..."
Man yearns for a connection to something larger and greater than himself.
The stars do more than adorn and beautify our night sky. It's as if they call out to us, beckoning us to consider that there really is more to the universe than just us. They seem to tell us that there is something utterly grand and unspeakably wonderful lying just beyond the reach of our outstretched fingertips – something to which we are somehow intimately connected. And we yearn to know what that something is. King David expressed such thoughts long ago, as recorded in our Bibles in Psalm 8:3-4.
Yet, the verse in Ecclesiastes does not stop there. More completely, it reads, "He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end."
Actually, I think in many ways the rovers' mission expresses both truths found in that passage… Yes, there is a longing in man for something greater for himself, as well as a craving to find that something. And, yet, as deep as we dig, as closely as we look, and as far as we fly, the fullness of the beauty of God's "work" we can, at this time, only know and find in part. One day, however, the wonderful whole of it will be revealed to us: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).
How I look forward to that time.
If you would like to know more about the mind-numbing beauty of the work God is doing in the world and in mankind, consider requesting our free booklets, Do You Believe the True Gospel? and Your Ultimate Destiny. Let the truth of God and His marvelous plan for you take your breath away.