In 1972, following the moon landing success, NASA’s space program was in full gear, launching probes and satellites to explore outer space.
It was in that year that the probe Pioneer 10 was launched, with a primary mission of reaching Jupiter, photographing the planet and its moons, and sending data back to earth about Jupiter’s magnetic field, atmosphere and radiation belts. It was an incredibly bold goal, given that, at that time, no satellite had ever gone beyond Mars.
But Pioneer 10, later nicknamed “The Little Satellite that Could,” accomplished its mission and amazingly more. In November 1973, Pioneer reached Jupiter, where the giant planet’s immense gravity hurled the little satellite at a higher speed toward the edge of the solar system. Pioneer continued toward Saturn, then Uranus, then Neptune, and, by the time it reached Pluto, it was almost 4 billion miles from the sun.
On Jan. 23, 2003, 31 years after its launch, radio communications from the satellite were finally lost, due of the loss of electric power for its radio transmitter. At that time, the probe was a whopping 7.5 billion miles from Earth.
In his book, “Pastoral Grit: The Strength to Stand and to Stay,” author Craig Brian Larson writes about this phenomenal accomplishment by Pioneer 10. He mentions that the little satellite was not qualified to do what it did, for the NASA engineers had designed it to operate with an 8-watt transmitter, which eradiates about as much power as a bedroom night light.
The designers thought that the battery would last no more than three years. However, to everyone’s amazement, Pioneer kept reaching farther and farther, defying everyone’s rationale and even its creators’ design.
By keeping on, a small satellite that had limited power on its own, was able to literally reach for the stars.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column about the Israelites’ conquer of the Promise Land, and how their fearful disposition and reluctance to trust God prevented them from receiving the full scope of God’s promise for them. Indeed, current Israel’s territory is much smaller than the land that God promised Abraham.
Fear and reluctance are indeed strongholds that prevent us from receiving God’s promises and fulfilling our dreams. But I believe one of the main reasons many of us never reach for the stars, is simply because we quit the journey. Sadly, often before it even begins. Because they cannot see the full extent of the promise, many refuse to even take the first step.Many of us never reach for the stars because we quit the journey. Sadly, often before it begins. Click To Tweet
Oftentimes after I finish speaking at a conference, I am approached by women who ask me how I started the ministry God called me to do. Many feel the nudge in their hearts to either start a ministry, or change a career, and are fearful and reluctant to take a step of faith.
My answer is always the same: “I simply take one step at a time, and commit to never quit.”
Invariably, God does not show the full picture of his will for our lives. He nudges us into a new direction, and waits for us to take one step of obedience. Frequently, his directions do not make sense. We don’t feel adequate, and fear of the known invades our hearts.
But our job is not to know the end of the story. Our job is to say yes, take one step, and wait for a door to open, or for directions to the next step. God’s job is to send the provision, people to assist us, and circumstances that will guide us on.
Propelled by unseen forces in the universe, a 569-pound satellite traveled beyond all expectations, conquering worlds never reached before. Its contribution gave us unprecedented knowledge of our universe.
Propelled by unwavering trust in God and determination, we can conquer more than we can ever dream. All we need is to believe, take one step at a time, and commit to never quit.
Patricia Holbrook is a Christian author, blogger and international speaker. Her book, “Twelve Inches,” is on sale at Barnes & Nobles, Amazon and retailers worldwide. Visit her website www.soaringwithHim.com. For speaking engagements and comments, email pholbrook@soaringwithHim.com.
This article was published on Patricia’s column for the Atlanta Journal Constitution on February 18, 2017.