Last night, Jan and I watched one of those end-of-the-world, apocalyptic films titled Greenland. In the film, a comet is on a collision course with Earth promising to create a near-extinction level event. It was standard and predictable disaster film fare.
In real life, astrophysicists are telling us a huge asteroid the size of the Rose Bowl stadium is plummeting toward Earth. It has a projected path that will cause the asteroid to pass beneath the orbit of our satellites on Friday, April 13, 2029. In space terms, this is close. The asteroid is named Apophis after the Egyptian god of chaos, death, and destruction.
The probability of an Earth impact would not happen in 2029, but several years later in 2036. The impact could take place if on the 2029 pass Apophis enters what is called a “keyhole.” This particular keyhole is a small opening in space approximately 1,800 feet across. Upon entering the keyhole Apophis would then be pulled into a collision course with Earth striking just off the west coast of the United States. The event would be so catastrophic it would alter life on Earth for millions of years.
What would happen in 2029 if the asteroid Apophis entered the keyhole and we knew it was on a collision course with Earth only seven years in the future? Until the 2029 flyby, we might only have a curious concern. If Apophis enters the keyhole, global fear will mount to unprecedented levels as people prepare for mass evacuations and scientists try to engage the asteroid in flight to nudge it off course.
I shared the information about Apophis not to cause concern but to illustrate how humanity responds when jeopardy to life is in the equation. In the film, Greenland, civil order and human decency devolved quickly when people began to live in fear. If you have never been in a situation where fear takes over a large group and people begin to panic because they feel they have lost control, things can get out of hand quickly.
Fear is always present offering us dark horizons to look toward. Unchallenged, fear can divert our faith using a possibility, even one that is very remote, to influence our lives in a negative manner. There is always some personal Apophis-appearing event present somewhere in life that wants to pollute our thinking with fear. When fear-inducing situations develop, we have a choice. We can pray and act according to the direction of God’s Spirit and then trust Him, or we can join the fearful mass and run away in a stampede of hopeless despair. Trust is not the absence of activity. It is a state of spiritual equilibrium that arrives when we have done all we can then choose to rest from our righteous labor of faith to give the outcome to God.