My dear sweet bride was supposed to jump out of an airplane on her Big Birthday in June, but because of an afternoon typhoon she was unable to skydive that day. Most sane people would take that as a sign that maybe stepping out of an airplane door when it is 14,500 feet above planet earth (That’s nearly 3 miles up in the sky, by the way) is not a good idea. OK most sane people would not even contemplate canon-balling out of a Cessna in the first place even if it was a Big Birthday.
I am not inferring anything about the sanity (or lack thereof) of my wife, I will simply write that the rain did not deter her from marking off the lone item on her bucket list.
This past Saturday she jumped.
It was a tandem jump– which meant that Karla was closer to her male instructor than she has ever been with any man except for yours truly. It was little weird and kinda awkward for her to be literally attached to another man at the hips and shoulders. By the way, her instructor’s name was “Hack.” Would you really want to put your life in the hands of a man named “Hack”? Isn’t that like letting a surgeon named “Dr. Oops” operate on you? No thank you.
In spite of that, the plane took off with several people on board including Laurie Deuschle (another Central skydiving dare devil), Karla and Hack. Hack was actually quite skilled, having made over 1800 successful jumps (It goes without saying that his jumps were “successful,” I am sure he would no longer be an instructor if he had made even one “unsuccessful” jump). At any rate, they all went up into the wild blue yonder and even though the airplane was experiencing absolutely no malfunctions– they jumped out. Karla and Hack were in a free fall for 53 seconds (or the exact amount of time for me to lift up about a million prayers) as they hurled toward the earth reaching a top speed of 136 miles an hour(or the exact speed my heart was racing). Then finally oh so finally Hack pulled the cord. Thankfully, the parachute opened, they gently floated down to earth and all was well.
Here’s what I find remarkable about the whole event:
At no point during the jump was Karla nervous.
She had zero nervousness.
Not before the jump while getting the parachute strapped on, not flying in the plane and not taking her one giant leap for preacher’s wives everywhere. She wasn’t nervous.
I would have been. Let’s just say I would have been so nervous I would have needed to bring a change of clothes with me. Just watching her jump (while I was safely stuck on the ground) I was nervous. I was nervous watching her go into the plane. I was nervous thinking about her jumping. I was nervous as I saw her plummeting from the sky. I was nervous. But not her.
I asked her, “How can you jump out of a airplane three miles high with Hack on your back and not be nervous?”
She said, “I don’t know, I guess because I prayed.”
Listen, I could have just come from a 24 hour prayer service led by Billy Graham himself, and I still would have been a nervous wreck if I was jumping out of a airplane. (Maybe that says more about my prayer life than my nervous Nellie ways). But Karla was convinced prayer made the difference .
She is in good company. The Apostle Paul thought that prayer made all the difference when it comes to nervousness and anxiety too. He wrote: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
Are you nervous? Is something weighing on your heart? Paul said “in every situation” we can pray. “Every situation” means whether you are 14,500 feet in the sky or firmly planted on terra cotta prayer makes a difference. If life is burdening you down then hollering out “Geronimo” probably won’t help. But calling out to God definitely will!