May 24, 2010
The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life: Whom shall I dread?…Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident. Psalm 27:1, 3
Well, one person noticed that I didn’t post to my blog last week (thank you, Cousin Sue!). But that’s okay. I’ve been hard at work writing an article for the September issue of New Jersey Monthly on the former Nike missile sites here in the Garden State. There are several, including the one down the Shore at Sandy Hook, Gateway National Recreation Area, where I got my own personal tour! (The best preserved Nike site is also under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, at San Francisco’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area—I’ve never been there, but after doing this article, I’m itching to visit!).
Nike missiles were considered the U.S.’s last bastion of defense from the mid-‘50s through the ‘70s. Over 200 bases were arrayed in circles around major cities and military bases. The Ajax, the first surface-to-air missile (SAM) developed, moved at twice the speed of sound and could take out a single target. Hercules, the more potent second-generation SAM, contained a nuclear warhead. The interesting thing about these missiles is that they were situated not out in the middle of nowhere, but near towns, farms and houses—and most people never had a clue about the tremendous force located in their backyards.
And isn’t it amazing—every day we have the world’s mightiest Power (Psalm 24:8) even closer than that, and yet we still act afraid.
That’s why I like to read Psalm 27 when I’m feeling particularly weak. It comforts me to know that 1) I’m not alone in my panic, alarm and trepidation—I mean, if David, whom God calls a “man after My heart” (Acts 13:22), has to remind himself to place his trust in God, then why wouldn’t I?—and, 2) I can be sure of the outcome of whatever struggle I’m up against just because the Lord of all is in control, not me.
Nike missile bases were deactivated in the ‘70s because of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks with the U.S.S.R., and the Cold War era officially came to an end with the Soviet Union’s collapse. Today, there’s still plenty to be afraid of, though some worries wear different faces these days, while others—money, kids, health, etc.—continue.
But the Savior is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), and you and I can confidently call upon Him to be “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1), no matter what enemy we face.