I took my wife skydiving for her birthday this year. It was a risk. Not so much a risk of death – according to National Safety Council figures, you’re statistically more likely to die from a bee sting, lightning strike, or dog bite. It was risky because she didn’t necessarily want to go. In fact, she had informed me previously that at no time in her life had she felt the desire to jump from a perfect plane. But I still surprised her, and to her credit, she fully participated in the experience.
So why the hell would I take on a business that was at great risk of blowing up my face and jeopardizing my wife’s happiness on her birthday? Simple, I really thought she would appreciate it if given the chance. And, if I’m being honest, I really wanted to go too and thought that would be a good excuse for us to literally take the plunge together. It turns out I was right to change.
We landed around 10:30 am and what amazed me was his face for the rest of the day after our adrenaline-filled experience. On her birthday, my wife was just happy and satisfied. No matter where we went or what we did, she was beaming. It’s the kind of contentment and appreciation in life that can only be found on the other side of taking the risk and achieving something that you previously felt incomprehensible.
Let’s be honest, we live in a world of fear. We are told to fear a lot of things in our lives. The media thrive on fear. When I was a child, the unfamiliar intricacies of the quicksand and the Bermuda Triangle kept me awake in bed at night. Because of the news, I honestly thought rainforests would be a thing of the past before I graduated from college. Then it was the threat of acid rain, the destruction of the ozone layer and the year 2000 that would prove to be the end of civilization as we know it. Global warming and overpopulation are hot topics right now, literally and figuratively, and the myriad of complexities that accompany them are distressing to many.
Listen, many of these are viable concerns, but the question I want to ask today is simple: can we actually live a satisfying life in the face of constant fear? As followers of Christ, we are to live in the hope of Christ, and not in fear of death. The apostle John tells us that there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, for fear has to do with retribution. He who is afraid is not made perfect in love.
When you live in fear of death, you are living for the moment focusing on self-preservation at all costs. When you live for Jesus, you live by focusing on the Holy Spirit and the purpose of the Kingdom. Paul tells us in Romans 8 that through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life frees us from the law of sin and death. We are free to live apart from the fear of death in our lives. We are free to follow where the Shepherd leads. We are free to live fully.
I can’t tell you exactly what this looks like to you. I believe it means following Jesus in faith on this incredible journey called life. It feels like living each day with contentment as if you have just accomplished something that you never thought possible. So go ahead, take the plunge, see if God is faithful and experience the beauty of life after opening the parachute.
Sidenote: In case you’re wondering the outcome of my decision, I’ll give it to you. We’re still married, and my wife will tell you it was a divine thing, but her birthday this year was one of the happiest days of her life. Don’t hesitate to tell her about it the next time you see her.
Finding the Faith is written by pastors in the area. This week’s column is from Reverend Scott Garman, pastor of Cedar Heights Brethren in Christ Church at Mill Hall.