Free falling

    By David Langerfeld

    [dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith my heart pounding in my throat and my adrenaline on supercharge, Icrawled out the door of the small Cessna airplane and balanced precariouslyon a small step. This was it, there was no going back. I spread my arms andlegs out into the arch position and let go.

    As I tumbled through the air, I could see the plane departing in thedistance. I looked up and saw that my chute had tangled on deployment. For amoment I almost panicked. Then I remembered that I could do somemaneuvering and get the lines untangled. Failing that, there was still thereserve chute. All I needed to do was pull a release which “cut away” themain chute and the reserve would deploy without problem, at least in theory.
    Fortunately, I did not have to find out if the reserve would open properlyas I got the lines untangled on the main chute. The rest of the trip was adelightful journey. That is, until landing.

    It is hard to describe the feeling of descending under the cover of afunctional parachute. You are falling gently through the air, above thenoise of the earth, watching the ground seeming to come ever so slowlyupwards. The wonderful peace of it conflicts with the sheer adrenaline rushleaving you with a sense of exhilaration.

    Just before you land with a parachute you allow the air to come out of it,and then fill again. This process, known as “flaring”, stops you so that youcan touch the ground gently. I flared a moment too soon, which lifted methen dropped me from about ten feet or so. Not a huge fall, but…

    It is hard to describe the events that happened next because they happenedso quickly. It involved my foot going into a gopher hole and my forwardmomentum spinning me around my stuck foot, a large rock and a gust of wind.I ended up with a smashed up shin and ankle. I had no choice but to lie onthe ground and wait for the rescue crew to take me to the hospital. That wasmore than 25 years ago and I still have the dent in my shin bone andproblems with that ankle.

    The doctor told me that day, that next time I might not be so lucky. I wouldlikely not walk again if I had a similar landing. I quit the sport that day.

    Now sky-diving is not a sin, but that day’s event reminds me of the way werespond to sin sometimes. We decide to give into temptation, and we get alittle check in our spirit. We ignore that check thinking that we will stillbe fine. Sooner or later though, just like the ground rising up to meet me,our sin reaches up hard with its consequences and there is no avoiding themany more. It’s too late to turn back.

    We generally do not plan to go out and sin … at least not a first. We gettempted then we think about it a while.

    When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot betempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, byhis own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire hasconceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, givesbirth to death. (James 1:13-15)

    Even if we manage to “get away” with sin, and believe that “no one knows”,our sins will come back to bite us.

    There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that willnot be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in thedaylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will beproclaimed from the roofs. (Luke 12:2-3)

    That means we need to do two things. First, run from the temptation. Second,when we fall, we need to return quickly to the grace and mercy of our lovingFather seeking forgiveness. A fall into sin will not cause us to lose oursalvation, but it can damage our relationship with Father and have earthlyconsequences which will haunt us the rest of our lives.

    Until next time, flee from temptation. If you fall, rush back in “Abba”Father’s waiting arms.


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