This Week's Article

This Week's Article


An Astronaut’s Faith and Family

By Colly Caldwell

   “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

   Where would you find your inner comfort if your spouse had been launched in a rocket ship to spend the next six months in a space station high above the earth. Dionna Glover has cited Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians as an important source of strength for her and her family.

   Last Sunday evening, November 15, 2020, Dionna’s husband, Victor Glover, was one of four American astronauts rocketed toward the international space station “SpaceX - Crew Dragon.” They arrived twenty-seven hours later on November 17 and docked 250 miles above earth.

   Victor and Dionna are members of the church living in Houston, Texas. During the pandemic they have been worshiping online.

   The Glovers recently met with Bobby Ross, editor of The Christian Chronicle, and talked about their faith. Their perspectives might be interesting and helpful to us as we face unique situations in life.

   In some ways, Ross explains, the pandemic prepared Victor for his extended stay in space. “Where Glover is going there is no physical church building.” One of the things I was hoping, before this pandemic, was that she would take it with her to church and just log in, and I could just sit there and watch and kind of just sit next to her in worship services,” Victor said. “We’ll see if they’re back in regular, physical services soon or not.” Victor adds “So honestly I will probably continue in what we’ve been doing: virtual service, virtual giving, reading my Bible and praying,” “I actually sent up communion cups and a Bible and we have really good internet connectivity,”

   We might want to notice how important the Glovers feel “physical services” are to their family. I know we all understand that our “virtual” services do not provide for all the things collective worship is designed to give us. It seems that they are necessary in crisis times, in sickness, or when we age. But they do not provide the opportunities for “teaching and admonishing one another” and joining our voices in song that we have when we come together. They also do not project the same experience and example to our children that will continue with them through their memories as long as they live. Neither do they give the blessing of seeing, knowing, and encouraging one another personally that we have by being together.

Victor wanted to sit beside Dionna in worship. That should say something about the meaning of families worshiping together with other families.

   We have thought about Dionna’s need for comfort at the risks Victor is taking by going out to space. What must Victor feel himself in climbing into that rocket ship at Cape Canaveral and hearing the count-down, the booster rockets, and then feeling the weightlessness of outer space. How would you feel climbing out of that ship for a spacewalk in utter darkness held only by a single tether.

   Would you not take the words of Paul to heart? Would you not pray acknowledging God and His presence? Would you not make supplication for his protection and deliverance from any danger? Would you not express your thanksgiving for every blessing you could remember to mention...not just the fourth Thursday of November but every moment you were in outer space and then also when you reenter the atmosphere? And would you not make your requests for him to provide for you, your family, and all your acquaintances? Of course you would.

   Victor said, “Just in general, before I go and even get in an airplane, I say a prayer and I always think about my family...because I do a very high-risk thing.” “I’m not in combat anymore being shot at, but there’s still a risk,” he explained. [Victor flew combat missions in Iraq.] “So I always want to make sure that, ‘Hey, if today is my day, I’ve told my family, I’ve told my girls that I love them, and I had a chance to commune with God directly.’ And then I go and do what I need to do and feel good about it.”

   It encourages us to see other Christians successful and doing important secular work. But it is especially encouraging to see their dedication to spiritual living and building God-fearing families.