On the Radar

By James Merritt

RADAR is an object-detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations and terrain. A RADAR system consists of a transmitter producing electromagnetic waves in the radio or microwaves domain, a transmitting antenna, a receiving antenna (often the same antenna is used for transmitting and receiving) and a receiver and processor to determine properties of the object(s). Radio waves (pulsed or continuous) from the transmitter reflect off the object and return to the receiver, giving information about the object’s location and speed.

RADAR was developed secretly for military use by several nations in the period before and during World War II. The term RADAR was coined in 1940 by the United States Navy as an acronym for Radio Detection And Ranging. From weather forecasters to airport controllers to military commanders, RADAR is an absolute necessity in protecting pilots, passengers and even the nation from mid-air collisions, hazardous conditions and wartime confrontations.

Likewise, in a figurative sense, RADAR is important in the spiritual world—especially in the area of evangelism.

Jesus said Himself, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.” In other words, Jesus said that He came to earth with His spiritual antenna up and His RADAR on for one thing: people far from God. Everywhere He went, every person He met, His RADARwas scouring the landscape for people who needed exactly what He came to bring; salvation.

So the question is: how is your spiritual RADAR functioning?

Are lost people on your RADAR screen daily?

Do you ask God to bring people onto your RADAR screen every day and then go through the day with it on alert ready to engage in gospel conversations if the Holy Spirit activates your RADAR screen and let’s you know that a potential witness is incoming?

A young woman from Nigeria named Ehe came up to me after one of our services requesting an appointment. She said she had some personal issues and needed some guidance and advice. I normally pass these along to our staff counselor but something (Someone) moved me to say, “Call my assistant, and make an appointment.”

When she came in with my assistant (I never see women alone) she immediately began telling me that she had been without a job for three years and needed advice on pursuing a career. She also told me she was battling lymphoma. As the conversation progressed, I asked her how she found our church, and she informed me she had been coming for three years—though we had never met.

At that point, I asked her the same question I always ask anyone who comes to see me for any reason. “Do you know for sure that if you were to die today, you would go to Heaven?” She responded that she didn’t know, but she believed she would. When I asked her why, she said, “I have always believed in God.” I discovered she had been christened as a child, later confirmed but she had never been converted. I shared my testimony of how I came to Christ, and she admitted she had never surrendered to Christ as Lord or received Him as savior. When I asked her if she would like to she immediately said, “Yes” and prayed to receive Christ into her life. I explained being “born again” to her and wrote down the time and date of her spiritual birthday on a card I gave her. This happened because my RADAR was on, and my spiritual antenna was up.

I am convinced that we spiritually sleep walk through many days and miss many opportunities to give a gospel witness or sow a seed because either our RADAR isn’t on, or we ignore the screen when God brings someone across our path.

They are some of the most tragic words in history. “Don’t worry about it.”Those words, which he uttered on a peaceful Sunday morning in 1941 on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, would haunt Kermit A. Tyler for the rest of his life.

Tyler was the Army Air Corps’ first lieutenant on temporary duty at Fort Shafter’s RADAR information center on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when a RADAR operator on the northern tip of the island reported that he and another private were seeing an unusually large “blip” on their screen, indicating a large number of aircraft about 132 miles away and fast approaching.

“Don’t worry about it,” Tyler told the RADAR operator, thinking it was a flight of U.S. B-17 bombers that was due in from the mainland.

Instead, the blip on the screen was the first wave of more than 180 Japanese fighters, torpedo bombers, dive bombers and horizontal bombers whose surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the island’s main airfields shortly before 8 a.m. plunged the United States into World War II.

Many eternal souls are depending on us to have our RADAR on and our antennae up as we go about our daily life. Ask God today to activate yours, and be ready when that blip comes across your screen. You and others will be glad you did.

Published January 11, 2017

James Merritt

Pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Georgia.