Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I saw an article this week on EdgefieldDaily.com that intrigued me. There is a French skydiver who is going to attempt breaking several records in a jump he will make next month. He will float into the atmosphere in a weather balloon, and jump out head first at about 131,000 feet. Since he will be falling from such an altitude he will also reach a speed of nearly 1000 mph. This will break the sound barrier at 760 mph. He believes he will reach the sound barrier within 37 seconds, and the entire jump will take only about 8.5 minutes.

His equipment is equally as fascinating. His suit is designed to heat up as it meets resistance, so the minus 212ยบ f temperature won’t bother him. His helmet is also designed with hearing protection since he will experience a sonic boom when he hits the sound barrier.

This jump will set several world records. If he is successful, he will have the record for the longest sky dive, the highest parachute jump and the highest altitude achieved by a human in a balloon. Even with all the obvious dangers, the 63-year-old Michel Fournier says he is “looking forward to it”.

All this reminds me of a newspaper article in my office that I have kept for many years. I’m not sure why I kept it. Perhaps it is the horror of the story; maybe I’m still trying to figure out what exactly happened. For whatever reason, the story got my attention and has kept it for about 12 years now.

The headline of the article reads, “Skydiving Plane Crashes, 12 Killed”. There were twelve people on board the plane including the pilot and co-pilot. This means that the other 10 people were in the plane for one reason; they planned to jump out of it and parachute to earth.

A quote from the article further adds to the mystery; “There were parachutes on board, but there was no evidence that anyone tried to leave the plane.” First of all, I would not be on a plane for the purpose of flying very high into the air and jumping out “just for fun”. Secondly, if I were going to do such, I certainly would think something like the plane going down would prompt me to get my parachute and give it a try. These people obviously didn’t even try to get out.

Too many times we are trapped in a crashing plane in our lives, holding on to the very thing that could save us. However, what is outside is very scary, and although the inside might destroy us, at least we are familiar with it. What makes us stay in our comfort zone when Jesus is standing out in the storm of this world with the waves pounding, the lightning flashing, the thunder roaring, the wind howling, saying “come”?

For some reason, we think the people who need to hear about Christ are going to just wake up one Sunday morning and decide to find a church to attend. While I know first-hand that this does happen, it doesn’t happen often. Those who are lost need to hear the gospel. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). If they do not come through our doors, then how will they hear? They will only hear the word out of our mouths and see it in our lives.

The problem is that while God does bless us with his presence on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, He is much more active “out there”. “Out there” is where those people live who are not like us. He is with them where there is hurt, disease, poverty, injustice, war, famine, abuse, drugs, and scandal. Jesus stands in the midst of this storm and calls out to us to “come”.

Will you meet Him there, in that uncomfortable scary world, or will you remain in your little plane that is crashing with your parachutes strapped on, never to attempt an exit that will save your life and many others?

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You
on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat,
he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
(Matthew 14:28-29)

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