I Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Dr. John Stapp was an Air Force officer, a physicist, and a flight surgeon. Over his impressive career, he played a primary role in improving the safety equipment for pilots, with inventions including safety harnesses and ejection equipment. Stapp performed his important role in the deserts of California and New Mexico using a unique piece of test equipment called a rocket sled. This contraption was a sled on rail tracks that was rapidly pushed by a rocket engine. It was used to test the effects of powerful acceleration, high-speed wind blast, and rapid decelerations on the human body. Before highly instrumented test dummies were invented, human test dummies rode the sled, and Stapp insisted that he be in the seat for the most extreme and dangerous conditions. As a result, he shattered bones, broke ribs, and faced temporary blindness – all for the cause of science and pilot safety.

In performing these tests, Stapp became known as “the fastest man on earth,” breaking land speed records while strapped to a rocket on rails. Yet, his craziness had an important purpose, and the safety mechanisms on aircraft improved significantly under his carefully crafted rocket sled test plans. He even invented the three-point safety belt system that was the forerunner to modern day seatbelts in use in vehicles around the world. Thus Stapp, who also is credited with being the originator of the famous Murphy’s Law – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong – made a significant impact on all of humanity through his unorthodox methods.

Dr. Stapp’s methods were certainly atypical. Some would say they were peculiar and strange. Yet, his impact on aviation physiology and safety was unmatched.

Ironically, a strange and peculiar world thinks we are the ones who are strange and peculiar as we follow the Lord. They think our lives are unorthodox as we serve God. Nevertheless, it is our responsibility to follow God regardless of the sneers, the jeers, and the consequences. Our faithful obedience, though seen as peculiar by others, brings glory and praise to Him. His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. As a result, the impact He can have through us as we faithfully follow Him can be unmatched.

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE LORD TO GIVE AMERICAN CHRISTIANS THE FORTITUDE TO SERVE HIM FAITHFULLY IN SPITE OF THE UNORTHODOX NATURE OF OUR CALLING. We are not test dummies, but are instead the loyal servants of a God whose ways far exceed the comprehension of mere man.

Picture: Air Force Test Center History Office