The plane roared to life. We rocked and bounced down the farmer’s field. Just before we hit the trees at the end of the field, we lifted into the air, and began to climb to our jumping height of 3000 feet. As we climbed higher, sweat began flowing from every pore in my body. It ran down my neck, my back, and my face. It ran off the end of my nose and onto the jump master’s lap, as he reached forward to remove my pilot chute from the little sack strapped waist.
A pilot-chute is a small chute used as drag to pull the main chute from the pack on your back. Experienced skydivers pull it out and toss it behind them when they are ready to open their chutes. New skydivers are not trusted to do this, so the jump master holds it in his hands and tosses it out of the plane when you step away. It gives you approximately three seconds of freefall before your chute opens.
“Relax,” he said. “You’re going to love this.”
Easy for him to say, I thought to myself. I looked out the window and almost cried. “How high are we now?” I asked our jumpmaster.
“1000 feet.” He informed me.
I looked out the window again. We were going three times this height, and it already looked like a mile.
My sweat continued to flow.
We approached our jump level and the master yelled, “DOOR!”
He unlatched the door. It blasted upward and hit the wing with a bang. I knelt on the edge of a three thousand foot drop. The wind blew in the door at eighty five miles per hour, caught the sweat on my face, and sent it sparkling in circles in front of my face. The master signaled me to get ready. Hurricane force winds pounded my body, as I forced my way through the small opening. There was no turning back. I was committed.
Over the roar of the wind, I heard the word, “GO!” I stepped away. For three seconds I spun out of control, not knowing which way was up. I was at the mercy of the wind and gravity. Everything I learned throughout the day was gone. My mind froze with terror.
I felt the hand God lift me by the shoulders. When I looked up, I saw the beautiful rainbow colors of my parachute. I floated like a bird; I was a soaring eagle – alive and in control. I glided to the ground and landed on both feet a short distance from the landing target.
That night, safely at home, I reflected on my jump. I’d shoved my worries aside and put complete faith in a thin layer of cloth. If the chute had failed, I would not be writing this story today.
There is a time in everyone’s life, when we realize we can’t do it all on our own. Many put their faith in their God. On their knees, they pray, and admit they need his help. They put their life in his loving hands.
He is your parachute. When your life is spinning out of control, he will hold you steady. With his strength, you will land safely on your feet, but only if you have the faith to jump into his arms.
Michael T. Smith [email protected]