“There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10f)
“None who does good???”
Have you ever heard anyone say that they were “good and tired”, “good and mad” or “good and ready”?
I was “good and lost”.
My grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher and Dad was treasurer in a Baptist Church. Mom was an Episcopalian organist and one of my favorite aunts was Mother Superior (“Sister Mary Paul”) at a Catholic girls’ school in Nauvoo, IL. (Can you sing “Sound of Music”?) I pretty much had the Religion thing covered.
And talk about being a “good boy”. The last thing I wanted to do was disappoint my family. I was squeaky clean! The worse thing I ever did was not go to church when I left high school and went off to college. I never even drank a beer until I went to study at a university in Germany at the age of 20.
In the early fall of 1966, I had graduated from college and Air Force Officers Training School. Lieutenant Bob Shearer. I was moving from good family, to good religion, to good reputation to good job (translate that to mean “personal glory”).
As a history major and with the military draft on the horizon, I knew that I would be cannon fodder for Vietnam. So I decided that I’d rather fly over the triple canopy jungle. Not march through it.
The USAF was desperate for pilots. Even the Navy said I could join them and “see the world”. What they never tell anyone is that 80% of the world is under water. I was on my way to Air Force pilot training.
Two weeks of “ground school” at Williams Air Force Base in Chandler Arizona was behind me and I was about to take my first ride in a T-41 aircraft (Cessna 172). The only problem was this. I had never before touched an airplane or been in an airplane, let alone gone up in one.
If you think I was nervous at the prospect of taking my first instructional ride, can you imagine how I felt when my instructor told me after only two weeks of training that I was about to fly “solo”?
There I was by myself in the cockpit, accelerating down the runway and breaking ground at takeoff speed. And, I was all alone.
Heading out west over the huge Arizona desert. One six to nine foot tall Saguaro cactus pretty much looked like every other Saguaro cactus? That’s my way of saying that I was lost. No houses, roads or landmarks of any kind. My first solo flight in an aircraft and I’m “good and lost”.
Having taken off rather late in the afternoon, the sun was beginning to set. At first, the growing darkness added to my anxiety. The sun was going down. And without a miracle, I would soon follow.
As it grew darker, I could make out the glow of light on the horizon. It was the city of Phoenix. With that cosmic clue at my disposal and because I knew the airport was located along side of the road that ran south out of Phoenix toward Tucson all I had to do was head east until I found the highway and then follow the automobile lights toward the Chandler airport.
I followed the light and was “good and saved”. Whew!
The next few posts will explain how an eternally “good and lost” young man finally saw the “Light” in Jesus Christ, surrendered his life to the Lordship of that same Jesus and became gloriously saved.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were
made through him, and without him was not anything made that was
made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light
shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”