Tuesday, April 14, 2009

God Will Never Let Go

I remember the feeling all so well, even though it was years ago, BK -- before kids. A friend of mine from college and I decided that we would be uncharacteristically daring and try sky diving.

Being that it was our first time and we were not trained, we flew tandem. On the ground, I put on a flight suit and eye protection, and climbed aboard the plane. Once in the air and reaching the right altitude, the professional sky diver (or at least I hoped he was) attached himself to me by the use of metal clasps that connected his jump suit to mine. In this position, his head was near mine, obviously, so I could hear everything that he was saying to me. The hatch door was opened on the plane and I was told to step out on to the bar that was attached to the wing. So in unison, the knowledgeable diver and I stepped out, holding on to the wing bar. At the count of three, I was to let go and "just" fall. He would take care of the where and when, I was just to follow his lead, and trust him. He assured me that he would be responsible for pulling the chord when the time was right, releasing the parachute.

So, I did as he said. After all, I had not come that far to climb back in to the plane. Nausea and fear filled my body. A pit welled up in my stomach, almost choking me in the throat, as I stepped out in faith, clasped to my partner. There I was, now, out on a limb (or a wing), so to speak, and ready to step off. All I had to do was let go at his signal and let him take care of the rest.

For several thousands of feet I free fell with him, face down, air rushing past me, looking at the vast scenery around me. He would point out different landmarks for me to look at. All I could hear was his voice. And then "pop" he pulled the cord, and I no longer "free fell" but floated to the ground, under the parachute, still attached.

It's hard for me to even choose the words to describe the experience. It was unlike any other.

The analogy is not a total parallel, but sometimes I feel like this is how our journey with God in trials can be. God may ask us to step out in faith in a really unbelievable circumstance that feels much like we are stepping out on to the wing bar of a plane and free falling. We need to remember Who has attached Himself to us and believe that He can be trusted. We need to listen to His voice alone, and follow His lead. Even though there may be the rush of a thousand other voices, like the wind, we need to only listen to His. We need to look around us in the process and see what He has for us.

There often are a myriad of questions. Had we really come this far with God to now be falling in such an unbelievable and vulnerable way? What do we do with our fear? Will we have enough faith? What is the right timing? Will God really be there for us? Are we sure the attachments are secure? Will He pull the cord giving us the parachute of His love canopy over us and provide for us a safe and quiet landing?

Lots of questions, some answers. But we can know for sure that He is holding on tightly and will never let us go. We are not flying solo. The pulling of the parachute nor the landing are up to us; He controls the timing and He controls the direction as we sail with him.

Psalm 139:8-10 reminds me a bit of this analogy. "If I go up to the heavens you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."

Yes dear reader, in our times of trial and suffering, it can feel like we are free falling. Believe that God is with you and has clasped Himself to you by the love of Jesus. If He is asking you to step out in faith in a scary and difficult situation, know that He can be trusted. He will never let go of you. He will be there to guide you and He will hold you fast. He is faithful.

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