In 1961, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed that America would put a man on the moon. This was bold idealism in the days when a computer was roughly the size of a garage…yet with far less computing capability than the smart phone you now own!
To get a spacecraft into orbit would require a massive new launch vehicle, and even this rocket was no sure bet. The Saturn V and Apollo lunar spacecraft were estimated to have close to one million individual components. NASA would only launch with a 99.8 percent “go rate” — meaning that up to 9,800 parts might not be working properly, or at all, at the time of launch! The astronauts had the very real possibility that their ride to the moon would blast them to pieces.
Risk was everywhere, even on the ground. Disaster struck in January 1967: a catastrophic fire during a launch test, less than one month before the first scheduled Apollo mission. Our first manned lunar space flight had ended with the ultimate failure, the loss of three people’s lives. Was the cost of space exploration too high? Was it even possible?
A lot of people feel this way in life. They think they once had a shot at God’s plans for their life but now they’ve lost that chance. They’ve blown it too many times; surely God must be finished with them. Maybe you were called into ministry, yet melted down morally or emotionally or spiritually, and now find yourself driving an overnight delivery truck. Maybe you led a school or a business, yet lost it all because of a decision your spouse made, or the betrayal of a friend. Maybe you just got tired, or felt forsaken, and quit. Whatever the case, you’re now out of the game, or simply struggling to hang on.
Well, JFK’s nation-galvanizing “moon shot” needed a comeback before it had barely begun. Yet, despite all the odds, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin became the first people to set foot on the surface of the moon.
Astounding. But wait, it gets better! Due to onboard computer errors, Armstrong basically piloted the moon lander by the seat of his pants…coming within seconds of having to abort.
If you’ve ever set out with a compelling and all-encompassing vision, you can relate to this story. All great ideas must rise above failure. Comebacks are necessary in any great success story!
Excerpted with permission from The Comeback, by Louie Giglio