Many people dream of having the “right stuff” to fly to space. Recently, 18,300 people applied for just 12 astronaut spots at NASA! Fanfare over the moon landing’s 50th anniversary is sure to spark even more interest.
Leaving behind earthly troubles and floating in zero gravity must be amazing, right? Not, it turns out, for one’s body. Weightlessness takes a heavy physical toll in space. Without resistance, muscles waste away and bones weaken. Bodily systems we take for granted are disrupted, causing disorientation. To counteract these effects, astronauts wear resistance suits while exercising. Ironically, after escaping Earth’s gravity, they must replace it.
Similarly, we long for trouble-free days and pray for an end to earthly burdens, not recognizing that exertion, whether physical or spiritual, builds strength. “He who knows no hardships will know no hardihood,” said Harry Emerson Fosdick. “He who faces no calamity will need no courage. … The characteristics in human nature which we love best grow in a soil with a strong mixture of troubles.”
Every weighty challenge is a reason to “rejoice … knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4, ESV).