The colorful hot air balloons ascended into the air at the 1989 National Hot Air Balloon Championships at the Greater Baton Rouge (Louisiana) State Fairgrounds.
That August Saturday evening, Bob Mock was piloting Chariot of Fire Too, while keeping in radio contact with his wife on the ground. Having lifted off, Bob maneuvered the balloon higher as he operated the burner.
Up and up the Chariot of Fire Too ascended into the sky toward heaven until reaching a height of about 2,000 feet. But all was not well. Bob called his wife to tell her that the Chariot of Fire Too was having trouble and that a flap near the top of the balloon was not sealing properly.
A short time later, he reported "It doesn't look good!" The hot air balloon was beginning to collapse and began to plummet to the ground before a crowd of thousands.
In those final seconds as the balloon rapidly descended, Bob radioed his wife to tell her to warn spectators to get out of the way. His last words were "Clear the people out from underneath," which resulted in no one else being injured.
Bob's balloon crashed on a strip of grass between the traffic lined up on nearby Airline Highway and the entrance to the Greater Baton Rouge State Fairgrounds where the competition was being held. He was rushed to the local medical center where he died of massive trauma 30 minutes later.
Bob Mock was a Christian, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who was safe in the arms of Jesus. Bob Mock, though absent from the body, was now present with his Lord.
Dear reader, what if you were in that balloon? Are you at peace with God and prepared to meet Him? Will you go to be with the Lord in heaven when you die?
Each of us is a sinner, for "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." And the penalty for our sins is death in a place called Hell.
But God sent His Son to be your Saviour from sin and death. On the Cross of Calvary, Jesus died in your place and paid the penalty for your sins. He died, was buried and arose from the grave.
Jesus is the one mediator between God and man. He is "the way, the truth and the life." Come to Jesus now. Receive Him by faith as your Lord and Saviour and you will have your sins forgiven and a home in heaven in the Father's house.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
A true story by Stephen Ross for WholesomeWords.org 2013. The author had met Bob Mock and the above is a tribute to him.