OPINION

Don't Let the Near Side Fool You

Mark Edmondson
Guest Columnist

Since man's early beginning, people have been drawn to the mysterious presence and apparent beauty of the moon.

Earth's nearest celestial neighbor has fascinated countless astronomers, inspired romantics and poets, and even stirred the passions of physicists and engineers to develop the most powerful of machines to reach it.

Yet, in 1968, when man first saw the moon in person, he discovered an amazing reality:  It's not so pretty after all.

Ironically, the most beautiful object in the whole immediate universe turned out to be his home planet!  Unlike the moon, the Earth, especially when set against the stark black backdrop of infinite space, is awash in color.

Appearance-wise, the astronauts found the moon dull by comparison.  It is as mission commander Frank Borman described it aboard Apollo 8, "A vast, lonely, forbidding type existence."

This is especially true of the moon's far side; the one side humans on Earth never see because of the moon's slow rotation.  The far side is considerably more rugged and hazardous than the comparatively smooth near side.

How the moon attracted man to put all of his knowledge, skills, and resources into landing on its powdery surface, and that men actually risked their lives to travel the nearly quarter-million miles to get there, is amazing.

Just as amazing is how Satan attracts some people to jeopardize everything, even their very souls, for a brief thrill or selfish endeavor.

Satan does this by showing us only one side of himself, and that is the part that "masquerades as an angel of light," luring people away from the most important things in life--God, family, and friends--to satisfy the impulses for acquiring money, sex, and power.

This side of Satan--the one that appeals to our most basic, depraved instincts--is the first thing that sparks our curiosity and grabs our attention.

But, there us another side to Satan; one that cannot readily be seen or recognized.  The dark side.  The consequential side to sin that most people ignore or won't admit to until it's too late.  Until they are already engaged in the sinful activity and paying a heavy price.

As he did Jesus, Satan promises us the world. He persists in doing so until we have given in to his all but irresistible suggestions.

Tragically, it's after succumbing to these temptations that he leaves the sinner fending for himself in his infamous web of treachery and deceit.

Predictably, Satan would have people to believe there is no hope of recovery after having made a total mess of their lives.  But...that's a lie.

There is a way.  It is by choosing to leave their world of sin and selfish endeavors behind, to join the Person who has been waiting to receive them all along.  The Person who is ready to take them home, back to the place whose matchless beauty they did not recognize or appreciate till leaving it far behind.

Whatever foundation of sin we have made for ourselves, God can use it as a launching pad for achieving His great salvation.

The most beautiful thing in all of life is the plan God conceived for the human race.  The garden of Eden served as a mere sample of what He forever had in mind.

He planned for us to dwell together with Him, in a place the apostle John described as having great magnificence and color (Rev. 21).

What could be more beautiful than having God, in all of His infinite glory, dwelling peaceably among the people for whom Jesus gave His precious life?

Nothing.

In fact, compared to all of the trouble and anxiety the world is experiencing today, and for the prospect of even greater struggle to come, the promise of a new heaven and a new Earth never looked so good!