Gospel: “Be Ye Ready”

Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets, the 32 year old pilot, with his hand picked crew coaxed the four Pratt and Witney engines to life on the 141 foot wing span B-29 Superfortress. It was early in the predawn hours when the aircraft lumbered off the tarmac at Tinian Island. Two more B-29s would follow Tibbets’ plane into the still night air. For six hours the planes droned through the stratosphere on a mission that would sear itself into the conscience of modem society and hasten the end of a world at war.

The payload they carried was the culmination of a $1.8 billion project that employed the best scientific minds and resources produced by the United States. The crew of the Enola Gay had no concept of what they would soon be unleashing. As the light of dawn pierced the sky, the coast of southern Japan broke the monotony of the dark ocean below.

As the same dawning light washed the city of Hiroshima, the metropolis came to life with activity. Myriads of bridges connecting the delta city across a maze of seven rivers were flooded with people. The Aioi Bridge was a common route essential to many for their commerce in the industrious city. The day was bright and clear as men and women, boys and girls without thinking made themselves ready for school or their day’s work at the ship yards.

It was 8:15 AM, August 6, 1945 when Bombardier, Tom Ferebee, located that Aioi Bridge in his Norden bombsight and released “Little Boy”, the 9,700 pound can with 140 pounds of U235. Col. Tibbet’s and co-pilot Capt. Robert Lewis felt the plane lurch upward with the release of the cargo and instinctively banked the plane into a sharp 180 degree diving turn to exit the area. “Little Boy” took 43 seconds to descend the 30,000 feet to an altitude of 1,900 feet when the two pieces of U235 were violently slammed into critical mass, spontaneously unleashing indescribable destruction on the city below. The only crew member to see the fire ball was the tail gunner, Sgt. George Caron. In describing the scene below he said, “Its like bubbling molasses down there the mushroom is spreading out… fires are springing up everywhere … it’ like a peep into hell.” That atomic fission reaction instantly scorched the earth with 5,400 degrees F. temperatures setting wooden structures ablaze. Lethal doses of radiation riddled the human populace and the shock wave that followed leveled the delta plain destroying everything within 1 1/2 miles of the hypocenter. Over 70,000 buildings instantly vanished, 80,000 people died not knowing what hit, them with an additional 60,000 people dying by years end from radiation effects.

The people of United States, Japan and the world remembered the 50th anniversary of that nuclear explosion on August 6, 1995. In retrospect, many great voices of society debated anew the morality and justification of such a weapon being used against fellow human beings. One thing universally recognized by the world is that the uncontrolled release of nuclear energy is a horrendous weapon against which there is no defense. There was no protection then nor is there any now that could withstand the awful destruction of that explosion, nothing except…. to get out of the city.

My friend, the Bible, God’s Word, does tell us of a destruction that will be visited upon this world and all those that forget God (Psalm 9:17). In our world, people are busy preparing their lives to achieve goals and desires for this life, but they are not Prepared for that which comes after this life. “It is appointed unto man once to die but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

It did not matter if the people that experienced that nuclear explosion thought such a weapon existed or if they thought they could protect themselves against it. It didn’t matter whether a person was found in a sheltered concrete building or a wooden shanty. The energy unleashed in that explosion destroyed all alike. In the eternal realm, it does not matter whether one thinks God does not exist or that my good works will outweigh my bad ones, or that God knows my intentions and will accept me. God’s word tells us that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). The Bible also tells us that “Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5:6).

My friend, death and eternity are things that must be prepared for. Safety from a nuclear explosion is only found by being out of the reach of its terrible force. Likewise, safety from the judgment of God can only be found where God’s judgment will never reach and that is only in Christ (Exod 12:13, John 3:16).

“Be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt 24:44).