“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” (2 Chronicles 15:7 NIV)
Pioneer 10 must be considered one of the most successful spacecraft of all time.
Designed for deep-space exploration, which at the time of its launch in 1972 meant pretty much anything beyond the moon, Pioneer 10 achieved a number of firsts while sending back valuable data along the way.
Following lift off, Pioneer 10 achieved a breakaway speed of 32,400 mph, making it the fastest human-made object to leave the Earth. It shot past the moon in just 11 hours, crossed Mars’ orbit in just 12 weeks and by the time it reached Jupiter it was moving along at 82,000 mph.
Pioneer 10 became the first spacecraft to pass through the asteroid belt. This was described as a “spectacular achievement” by NASA considering that asteroids the size of Alaska hurtle through the belt at 45,000 mph.
Upon reaching Jupiter, Pioneer 10 sent back the first direct observations and close-up images of the solar system’s largest planet. It was data from Pioneer 10 that confirmed that Jupiter is mostly a liquid planet.
After clearing Pluto’s orbit Pioneer 10 continued to send back valuable data regarding solar wind, until its scientific mission ended in 1997.
When launched the hope was that the satellite would reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data back to Earth. However, Pioneer 10 not only completed its mission but kept on going, exceeding all expectations.
By the time its mission ended the satellite had reached more than six billion miles from the sun, all the while transmitting information back to Earth from a mere eight-watt transmitter that radiated about as much power as a tiny night light.
This primitive satellite was not qualified to do what it did. It was made to last 3 years, but it surpassed 25. It was set, at best, to reach Jupiter, but it far exceeded anyone’s expectations and flew past Pluto.
It contained only a bit of power compared to other more sophisticated mechanisms, but accomplished more than anyone thought possible.
What are the lessons here for us?
It tells me that when God is behind a mission, there is no limit to what a person can accomplish, no matter how unqualified.
So many people start their Christian life at full speed and when they hit the inevitable asteroid belt they get wounded and knocked off course, failing to continue in their mission.
But if we keep on going, even when things get tough, there is no telling how far we can go or what we can accomplish with God working in us.
God can bring about amazing things from an individual with only “eight-watt” capacity, but those things won’t be achieved if we give up.
So let me encourage you to keep going, even when we feel like giving up.
With God for us who or what could ever be against us? (cf. Romans 8:31-39)
If we trust him though take-off, through the asteroid belts of trials and difficulties, and with our limited strength, he can take us further than we ever dreamed possible.
Father, when I feel like quitting, help me hold on and not give up. Strengthen me to stand knowing you are always with me.
Have a good week persevering,