'Fraid of Heights?

If you’re afraid of heights, don’t read any further. But can you imagine people actually doing this for a living? The engineering firm—Wiss (that’s not “woos”), Janey, Elostner Associates Inc., from Northbook, Illinois—has been hired by the National Park Service to provide an inch-by-inch inspection of the Washington Monument in our nation’s capital. How much damage did this national treasure sustain in the recent earthquake that shook Virginia and the east coast? To find out on Tuesday, two of the firm’s “difficult access team” members—under the watchful eye of Brandon Latham, a ranger from Denali (Mt McKinley) National Park in Alaska, himself an expert at rappelling—crawled out a hatch (unopened for the past 11 years) and climbed within feet of the 555-foot-high pyramid tip of the monument to begin setting up a rope system and equipment for “daredevil”  inspection. But lightning in the area drove them back inside. Hanging 555 feet above the concrete mall below with lightning striking nearby—it’s the grist of nightmares for some of us land lubbers! But what’s the Washington Monument in comparison to the teetering edge from which the global economy may yet plunge? Having just returned from Paris where the euro still reigns, I was surprised that Bloomberg’s business editors this week challenged the brave face that Germany and France are putting on regarding Greece’s financial meltdown: “They’re all in denial. Almost no one believes Greece is solvent, not with an economy—and tax receipts—shrinking and debt ballooning to 180 percent of gross domestic product, a burden that no amount of belt-tightening will make bearable. The question now is whether Europe can arrange a controlled and orderly default, or will allow a Greek bankruptcy that is chaotic and destructive to the global economy.” (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-28/road-map-to-prepackaged-orderly-default-that-keeps-greece-in-euro-view.html) We can be glad God isn’t afraid of heights! “‘Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand’” (Isaiah 41:10). Hanging on for dear life to a fraying rope, or holding on for dear life to His right hand—the choice is a no-brainer. And yet, by the billions there are human beings who know their ropes but not His hand. We must reach them now. Which is why each year on Alumni Sabbath we receive a special offering for Student Missions at Andrews University and Pioneer Memorial Church. Last March more than 285 responded to an appeal to “go into all the world” on behalf of Christ our Lord—to find those who have yet to find God’s hand and know His heart. Today would you please help us help these students help Christ reach this world in this generation? The Student Missions offering envelope in today’s worship bulletin is our opportunity to defy the heights from which this world will yet fall—and to send forth our young and our best on mission for the soon-coming Jesus. God occupies the heights—we have no reason to fear—and every reason to act now on His and their behalf. Thank you.