Freefalling


With my heart pounding in my throat and my adrenaline on supercharge, I crawled out the door of the small Cessna airplane and balanced precariously on a small step. This was it, there was no going back. I spread my arms and legs out into the arch position and let go.

As I tumbled through the air, I could see the plane departing in the distance. I looked up and saw that my chute had tangled on deployment. For a moment I almost panicked. Then I remembered that I could do some maneuvering and get the lines untangled. Failing that, there was still the reserve chute. All I needed to do was pull a release which "cut away" the main chute and the reserve would deploy without problem, at least in theory.

I say in theory because the next weekend, someone needed to deploy their reserve and it too tangled. Eyewitnesses reported that it was a minor tangle easily fixed, but the jumper panicked and cut away the reserve as well. They fell to their death.

Fortunately I did not have to find out if the reserve would open properly as I got the lines untangled on the main chute. The rest of the trip was a delightful journey. That is until landing.

It is hard to describe the feeling of descending under the cover of a functional parachute. You are falling gently through the air, above the noise of the earth, watching the ground seeming to come ever so slowly upwards. The wonderful peace of it conflicts with the sheer adrenaline rush leaving 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 you can touch the ground gently. I flared a moment to soon, which lifted me then 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 happened so quickly. It involved my foot going into a gopher hole and my forward momentum 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 on the ground and wait for the rescue crew to take me to the hospital. That was more than 25 years ago and I still have the dent in my shin bone and problems with that ankle.

The doctor told me that day, that next time I might not be so lucky. I would likely 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 we respond to sin sometimes. We decide to give into temptation, and we get a little check in our spirit. We ignore that check thinking that we will still be 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 them any more. It's too late to turn back.

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

James 1:13-15 NIV When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

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

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

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

Until next time, flee from temptation and if you fall rush back in Abba Father's waiting arms.

Kevin Corbin gleanings@gleaningsfromtheword.com

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