REFLECTION FROM 2000 FEET UP
I used to jump out of aircraft. I know it sounds crazy, but as I was a military chaplain, I needed to follow the soldiers under my pastoral care! I learned a set of important words— commands—really, that continue to inspire me when I face the great unknowns of life.
Look this Way
These sets of words are given in the minutes that precede the jump. It all begins with “Look this way!” The seated soldiers turn their eyes and attention to the rear of the aircraft knowing the important pre-jump sequence is starting.
Isn’t wonderful to know that we can turn our eyes to Jesus? We are not facing this crisis alone. He knows how to guide us through these uncertain and challenging times.
Seat Belts Off!
At this point, as the seatbelts are unbuckled and carefully put aside, the adrenaline begins to flow abundantly. The reality of leaving the safety of the plane sets in.
Many times, God called his people to not fear but to be courageous. Are we confident that he is with us in this pandemic and that we are safe in his care?
At this point, everyone is on the edge of their seats, ready for what is to come.
Jesus frequently mentioned the importance of living by faith. Is there anything in our lives that could impede our readiness to fully trust Jesus?
Now everyone is on their feet, swaying with the movements of the plane, anticipating the next command.
As followers of Jesus, we are indeed called to stand with him. Are we willing to go into the unknown, relying on his presence?
Clicks are heard throughout the plane as soldiers hook their parachute static lines on the cable above them.
Jesus promised all believers that his Spirit would be within them. As people connected to Jesus by his Spirit, are we attuned to his voice and presence?
Check Static Line!
At this point, jumpers tug on the cable and slide their static line to the person behind to verify that the line is indeed hooked as it should be.
Jesus mentioned that we are the branches of the vine and He is the trunk. How often do we check our soul to verify that we are indeed connected to Jesus, listening to His voice and not our own? Do we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us through others to ensure that what we are listening to is indeed God’s voice?
Check Your Equipment!
Helmets, straps, harnesses, and other equipment are checked to ensure everything is tied and tight. Loose equipment is dangerous!
When Jesus sent the apostles on their journey, he warned them not to be overburdened with luggage. What baggage are we carrying in our hearts, souls, and minds that may affect our faith and relationship with God and others?
Sound Off Equipment Check!
One by one starting at the end of the line, soldiers tap the one in front to say that he or she is ready to go.
The apostle Paul was not ashamed of his faith in Christ. He showed his willingness to go even to the ends of the earth for his Saviour. Is there anything that keeps us from fully going anywhere with him and facing together what may come our way?
The first soldier in line takes position in front of the open door, the ground some 2000 feet or so below. At this point, there is no return. Each jumper is alone with his or her thoughts. It is both a long and a short wait.
Jesus said that he would be with us until the ends of time. As we stand by the unknown of COVID-19, we can trust that Jesus will really guard our hearts and souls.
One by one, in quick succession, soldiers throw themselves out into the void. In a matter of seconds, the aircraft is empty, except for the aircrew. Suddenly, the noise of the whistling wind and engines gives way to the silence of open sky under a fully deployed canopy. It is truly a resurrection feeling!
We all know the feelings associated with being on a mountaintop with God. We feel alive through the power of God. Recalling those moments helps in times like these. Remember, God is the same today as before. He is still in control, and he continues to be present with us. nothing and no one can take away his love for us. His grace is securely attached to us, even as we have stepped out into the unknown.
Now that you have read the full article, go back and re-read the bullet points. Then spend a few moments with God. Talk to him about any concerns the question may have raised. Trust that he will hear and answer you.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”