So how did I end up sitting pensively at an airfield a week before my 50th birthday? Well God… isn’t it interesting how so many of our adventures of life begin with “well God…?”
Some years ago, in a dream, God showed me a vision of myself in a jumpsuit, walking past a plane. As God often shows me visions and dreams, I knew that there was something about this one and so like Mary (Luke 2:19) and others in the Bible, I stored this in my heart.
Fast forwarding to this year (2019), around February I found myself at a colleague’s leaving do in a Pizza Hut! In discussion I was asked whether I planned to do anything for my 50th birthday and instantly the vision came back to me. Now, I have not celebrated or marked any of my significant birthdays (18th, 21st, 25th, 30th or 40th) in the past and so doing big events was not my thing at all. However, with God bringing back the vision to me, I knew what He was prompting me to do and the reasoning behind it. I told my surprised colleagues and my surprised wife (she also works at the same organisation) that I was going to do a skydive as God wanted me to overcome fear and in so doing displace it. My life has been one that was plagued by poor choices made from fear which resulted in a lot of pain, anxiety and rejection, both for me and others around me. There is so much more to tell about that, but that will be for another day.
So now, on Friday 20th September 2019, there I was at the airfield. I had not held any great conversation on what I was going to do with others – suffice to say I was going to do it as God had shown me. Sometimes in life it’s best not to talk too much (1 Kings 20:11). Rather it is better to let your focus and trust be firmly rooted in the Lord. This is what I had chosen to do every time people wanted to discuss the perils in doing such a feat. My wife Samantha is great, she is my crown (Proverbs 12:4) and every inch the virtuous wife (Proverbs 31:10-31). She knew how to be there, acknowledge my apprehension yet just reassure me through her gaze. Sam knew that God was in this and that it had to be done. I should say that at this point Satan was going all out to make it as hellish as possible. I could hear him asking question after question to cause doubt and fear. “Was the vision from God before or after the jump? If it was before, then there’s no guarantee that you made it through. What will your wife and kids do if you die, as the insurance company will not cover you?”, and so on and so forth… This was not an easy process and I knew within myself that it might be the last thing I do, but if I were to die, then God knew it and it would be His perfect time to receive me. However, I didn’t believe that this would be the case as there were so many other things that had been spoken over me that had not yet taken place in my life. My mindset was like that of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, who were renamed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego:
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to answer you on this point. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!”(Daniel 3:16-18).
In this situation the gods or golden image was ‘Fear’, but I determined in my heart that I was going to honour and praise God by enjoying the whole experience. Amazingly, once I had made up my mind to enjoy and not endure the whole event, I couldn’t stop smiling and God was clearly in control.
I don’t usually like flying but here I was sitting on the floor of a small plane that was about to climb to 10,000 feet.
My heart is so moved/emotional as I think about what came next. I’ve faced a lot of challenging situations in my life: separation, rejection, death of people dear to me and I have seen God get me through when I didn’t know how to put one foot in front of another. This, though, was different. This was the first time that I was trusting God in a situation that could clearly (not unexpectedly) have resulted in my death and as I felt us fall out into the sky, my body and mind being disoriented by the forces of the air and loss of the horizon from my view, I said to myself “this is it God, I am in your hands and trust you totally, whether I survive or die”. There was no fear, because I was ready to meet my God. Whilst this may sound over-dramatic, the fact was that in that moment, when I faced the unknown and possible death, I reached out to embrace my Father, my God. My slide out into the unknown was like a Peter stepping out of the boat and into the raging sea moment (Matthew 14:22-33).
The experience was incredible. Something that I look at now and think “did I really do that?” and answer resoundingly “Yes, God took me through it”. So, I share my experience because I am just an ordinary guy who has an excessively big God who says that with Him, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). I don’t know what that deep-rooted fear is for you. If you’re like me, it might not have been a big thing like parachuting, but it might be the fear of believing that you can do something new, not believing you can survive without that sinful habit or wrong person in your life, the fear of thinking that God might not be there for you…. Well I (an ordinary man) am a living testimony that you can overcome these fears and do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13) if you will trust Him enough to take you through whatever ‘it’ is for you.
I have so often said:
“23 Jesus said to him, “[You say to Me,] ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes and trusts [in Me]!” 24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out [with a desperate, piercing cry], saying, “I do believe; help [me overcome] my unbelief.””(Mark 9:23-24).
Are you desperate enough to get out of that fear situation? Are you fed up of getting the same results and experiencing the same failures enough to trust Jesus to do something incredible and new in your life?
“18 Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past. 19 Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. 20 The beasts of the field will honor Me, Jackals and ostriches, Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen. 21 The people whom I formed for Myself will make known My praise.”(Isaiah 43:18-21).
The more I ponder on what God has done in my life, the more speechless I become. God has so much for you, Satan fights so hard to keep you from daring to trust God because he fears you. Satan fears having to deal with a version of you who stands in the fullness, authority and righteousness of God, so he tries to rule over you through fear and doubt. If you genuinely believe that “to live is Christ and to die is gain (to be with Him)” then death will surely have lost its victory over you (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
God loves you and I do too. I pray that this will encourage you to push into our Father’s loving hands and trust in His best for you.
God bless you,
‘But test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.’
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (New Living Translation)