Clamped Down

Access to space.By Roger Palms

One day I toured the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and was invited on board a training version of a craft that had been sent into space. I was shown clamps on the floor that anchor the feet of the astronauts.

Out in space, there is no orientation of up or down. So when an astronaut wants to be stable, or to sleep, he or she is fixed in place by those clamps. Whatever seems like up to the astronaut, is up. Whatever feels like down, is down.

I came away from that visit thinking that’s the way we are in our world too. We look for up and down, and it is all relative. For many people, whatever is up for them is up. Whatever is down for them is down. We need to be clamped down.

An Ancient Answer to a Modern Need

Tucked away in a seldom read book of the Bible is a verse that talks about being steady and faithful when nothing else is steady. “You can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean” (Leviticus 10:10).

God wanted his people to be able to distinguish between what was holy and what was not. Back then, everything was changing for Jewish people, just as it is with us now. The Jews had to know how to live as the faithful people of God in their shifting environment where there was no clear up or down.

God told his people they were to be neither like the people where they had lived nor like the people where they were going (see Leviticus 18:3). They were not to follow the practices of those people. Cultural and social changes were not the measure of how they were to conduct their lives. God’s teachings were.

Facing Reality with Our Eyes Open

None of us knows what tomorrow will bring nor what cultural, social, or personal changes lie in store for us. We do know that God is unchanging. He said, “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). In our changing world, it is to the Unchanging One that we cling. His way is steady and certain.

Here We Stand, Firmly Anchored

When there seems to be no clear up or down, right or wrong, I ask myself, “How can I be firmly clamped to keep from drifting around? How can I stay up when there is nothing in my culture to show me which way is up?”

Faithful living is God-focused living. It is living by the
clear teachings of Scripture that have been given by the One who declared that, unlike everything else, he does not change.

Like astronauts trying to live in a weightless environment, we are clamped down. We are firmly anchored to the Rock of the Living Word—the Lord Jesus—and the word written—the Bible. We are able to say, as did the reformer Martin Luther when his world was coming apart, “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me.”

We take our stand in our shifting culture. We are clamped down. To make it through life, we can’t do anything else.

Roger Palms, former editor of Decision magazine, is the author of 16 books and hundreds of magazines and newspaper articles. He teaches writers in this country and other countries of the world.

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