(Ships of American Destiny : Part Two)

Jerry Woodfill

Remember the TV series MISSION IMPOSSIBLE? Through brilliant applications of technology, the program's stars escaped dire consequences. The most impressive rescues used primitive items. For example, chewing gum wadded on a gun's firing pin might cleverly disarm a villain. Such inventions entertained far more than exotic technology. In like fashion, God's witty inventions make wise the simple. Just as the promise of salvation offered by Christ is so simple that a child can understand, God answers life-threatening challenges in uncomplicated fashion. Columbus found freedom in an astronomy table listing lunar eclipse dates. Apollo 13 survived using duct tape. Likewise, God saved the Mayflower with a witty invention.

Though the Mayflower and Santa Maria look nothing like spaceship Eagle, God had them fashioned similarly. The lunar excursion module (LEM) was the Eagle's original designation. It benefited from medieval and 18th century technology. Like the Santa Maria and Mayflower, Eagle's parts were fashioned by hand, hewn from blocks of metal in the fashion of ship's antique beams. Very little metal stamping or pressing contributed to Eagle's construction.

Another similarity of the vessels was the threat to each of their journeys. Satan's chosen weapon for attacking all three missions was a hurricane: Columbus' first voyage of discovery, Apollo 13, and the Pilgrims' Atlantic crossing faced deadly storms. Strangely, Apollo 13's lunar destination prior to the explosion was the OCEAN OF STORMS. A fierce north Atlantic hurricane imperiled the Pilgrims' voyage. The Mayflower's mainsail's footing beam warped severely. As a result, the wobbling mast appeared poised to break-through the footing. Loss of the anchoring base meant the huge timber would pile-drive into the hull. Impaled, with so gapping a wound, the Mayflower would surely sink.

In the beginning, the Pilgrims' plan included two ships for safety sake. Loss of either made the other a lifeboat. This would assure no storm would cost the lives of the entire colonial party. Because Apollo 13's mission included a two-ship convoy, the lander and a ferry ship, the astronauts survived. Except for faith and prayer, the Mayflower was alone. Shortly after departure, the Speedwell, the Mayflower's sister ship, proved unfit for the voyage. No alternative existed except to depart for the New World in only the Mayflower. God might have intended this course, by stripping the Pilgrims of their horses. He removed most of Gideon's 30,000 troops by selecting only those who lapped water from a stream, a paltry 300 soldiers. In this way, He reminded Gideon and the Pilgrims that the battle is the Lord's and my grace is sufficient unto thee.

As the contest for Mayflower's survival raged, the powers of darkness appeared triumphant. Each wave's blow against the oaken ship widened the warp in the mast's support beam. The grave prospect was little different from that faced by Shuttle Challenger's crew. When the Shuttle's solid rocket seal opened, each ensuing second brought the seven astronauts nearer death. In like fashion, the ever-expanding warp in Mayflower's beam would prove fatal to all. Without some kind of miracle, death was certain, a 1620 episode of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE in the making. There would be no Plymouth Colony, without a witty invention.

Just as Apollo 13's rescue team inventoried items on board the space ship, the Pilgrims reviewed their manifest. As the women and children prayed, God delivered the solution. A simple machine existed whose employ might save their lives. As master carpenters, these craftsmen understood the mechanical advantage of a screw device for shoring up warping timber. Who among them had ever seen so large a screw device as to brace a main sail's support beam? The still small voice answered, You have such a device on board. I have manifested it for the purpose of printing Christian literature, but it shall not only print to save souls, but save lives. USE IT NOW!

Unstowing the ponderous screw, the men swiftly positioned it under the warping beam and began the levering process. Slowly the warp receded, the mast firmed, and the Pilgrims rejoiced in Christ, their savior. Those, like Columbus and the Apollo 13 crew, who faced impossible circumstances, i.e., a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, would birth America. Had not Christ said? With God, nothing shall be impossible.

Copyright 2000, JRWIV INTERESTS

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