Have you ever looked up at the sky and seen a bright light and wondered what it was? I have had it happen to me numerous times, but two such episodes from my childhood and youth stand out because they scared me to death.
The first occurred when I was in 5th grade. It was recess and we were outside playing kickball (yes, I was a SUPER-hero at Kickball!). I don’t know why, but I think I noticed some other kids looking up at the sky and so I, being the sheep that I am, looked up, too. There, for the first time in my life, I saw what I later learned was a “sun dog”…a patch of very bright reflected light near the sun, but clearly distinct from it. (Of course, it wasn’t really “near” the sun, but it was caused by something like a patch of icy crystals or something in the atmosphere, but it looked like it was out there a ways). I was terrified…I thought the world was coming to an end.
The second time was even more frightening. Laurel and I had just moved to the Tampa, FL, area to go to school. It was night – late, somewhere around midnight, and we’d been inside a friend’s house. We came out of the house to get in the car to go back to our apartment when I looked up in the sky toward the WEST (out towards the Gulf of Mexico) and I saw what looked to be a huge fireball in the sky. It kept getting bigger and bigger, brighter and brighter. You know what I thought it was? I thought it was Jesus coming back! I thought the day of judgment had arrived…and I was REALLY scared!!!!! But then, just as I was about to hit my knees in fervent prayer, there was a smaller fireball that suddenly appeared farther up in the sky…and it started growing and getting bigger, too.
About that time, our friends saw it, too, and they said that it was a missile launch from Eglin Air Force Base. You see, I knew that the direction I was looking wasn’t towards Cape Canaveral, and I didn’t know anything about Eglin, so I had reasoned in my mind that it couldn’t have been a missile, it had to be Jesus! Boy, was I relieved when he said that the fireballs were caused by the various stages of the rocket as they ignited. But what was strange was there you couldn’t see a trail of fire going up into the sky along the trajectory of the rocket. I resolved, at that point, to try to always be ready because as a Christian, I do believe that at some point He will come back and I want to be ready!!!!
Today’s picture isn’t nearly that dramatic. It’s just a ball of fire in the sky behind a tall tree here in Georgia. The ball of fire? The good, ol’ sun. Nothin’ to worry about here folks, just move right along….
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1943, United States bakers stopped slicing their loaves of bread. Only whole, unsliced loaves were available until after the end of the war. I’m not real sure how that may have helped the war effort, except it might have made more steel available for weapons instead of for slicing bread.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the Magnum XL-200 in Ohio was the first roller coaster to crack the 200-foot tall barrier.