By Guest Columnist
Reverend Susan Smith
This week was my son’s birthday and he asked “Hey mom I’m going to go skydiving for my birthday. It’s something I have dreamed of for years. Would you like to do it with me?” My stomach dropped.
I said “You mean jump out of an airplane with a parachute?” He said “Yes, mom – it’s actually quite safe.” I thought about it for a few minutes. Skydiving is something I’ve always wanted to do too. At 65 I still have some bucket list items left. My 80-something friend Al Hubbard who attends Emmanuel Lutheran did it a few years ago and he has been my hero ever since. Al had done it with a tandem partner and if he did it so could I! The person I would be harnessed to would wear the parachute and help me jump out of the plane just like Al. I turned to my son and said, “Yes – I’ll do it with you!”
In the days that followed I thought about the person who would jump with me. I had never met them, didn’t know if it would be a man or a woman, how old they would be, or how long they had been skydiving. I had other friends who have done it too and their testimony of how fun and safe it was gave me great confidence in this stranger who would jump out of an airplane with me at 14,000 feet, free fall, and then open the parachute to take us to the ground safely. I marveled at my faith in this person who I have never seen.
I immediately began to think of this kind of faith compared to my faith in God who I also have never seen. Do I trust God to guide me safely through the perils of this life as much as I was prepared to trust my tandem skydiving partner? Somehow I felt a great peace about jumping out of an airplane because my faith in this person was strong based on the testimonies of other people I know who have done it. This kind of faith was amazing to me and I realized that I have some work to do in trusting God as much without fear, totally believing He will help me land safely in the ups and downs of life. Proverbs 3:5 says that we should trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. I don’t know anything about skydiving but I would be harnessed to someone who knows everything. In the same way, I need to trust God on all the things in life I don’t understand too.
I did jump out of an airplane – twice! My tandem skydiving partner was a 22 year old man who had been jumping since he was 18. I was totally present listening to his instruction as he strapped me to his body and told me how we would jump, fall, and land. I saw the earth the way God sees it and I now know why the birds sing.
I’m not sure if I will skydive again, but I know I want to skydive with Jesus. I want to be more fully present with God and listen to His instruction for me to surrender to His will so He can lead and guide me.
Rev. Smith is the Associate Pastor of Exodus Missionary Outreach Church www.exodusmissionaryoutreachchurch.org and she can be reached at 828-972-8196, [email protected] or PO Box 3311, Hickory, NC 28603.