“Yes, I held one of the four keys needed”, my new friend told me over lunch recently in Newport News, VA. “There were four of us US Air Force officers who each held a key. We only had a limited time to turn our key so that we were in sync with one another.” His key could launch 50 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) within a range of 3,500+ miles.
That was during the Cold War when he was posted to North Dakota. He found it both a terrifying and boring assignment. Each missile contained 170 kilotons. I had to look up “kiloton”, but it means 170,000 tons of TNT. Or, more poignantly, that’s equivalent to 13 times the size of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. With one turn of a key, we might say, my friend could unleash 50 missiles capable of destroying 650 Hiroshimas. Thank God, he never needed to.
Well, it got me thinking about keys. In particular, the gospel as the key that the world needs. It’s the key to our vertical relationship with our Maker and to our horizontal relationship with our neighbor and to our environment. As Christians who’re concerned that the gospel reaches to the ends of the earth, I think we need to consider two aspects of this key:
Access: Almost one-third of today’s population has either no access or extremely limited access to the gospel. Now I think we can learn something from the fact that ICBMs can be launched from underground silos or submerged submarines. The silo aspect sounds rather colonial and static, but the submarine aspect makes me wonder if we need to be more nimble, mobile, and focused in communicating the gospel to remote, minority people groups. Perhaps one reason why so many remain untouched by the gospel is that we’re stuck in a silo mentality.
Impact: We know that ICBMs release enormous amounts of energy. Now I’m not a mathematician (and would ask someone to correct me here), but 170 kilotons are equivalent to 0.17 megatons. And that releases enough energy to power the average US home for 17,590 years. That’s a long time. If we think of the gospel as the power of God for salvation, then perhaps we begin to grasp the immense impact the gospel can have on an entire racial group (for good).
Will you pray this week that the gospel will unleash the power of God for salvation among the unreached peoples of Turkey, India, North Africa, and SE Asia?