19/ 03/ 19
One thing I’ve realized in the past year of my life is that there are always three parts to every new season. The first part is the preparation for what is to come, the second part is the transitory period, and the third part is the harvesting season in which we witness the results of what we have sown in the first two stages of the season– whether that be good or bad. Each of these three parts hold much value, it is up to us to make the most of every life experience that we encounter.
Earlier on a beautiful spring Sunday, I went skydiving with my dad, a slightly delayed eighteenth birthday gift. We walked into the hangar eager to experience a thrill of a lifetime. To our right were several seasoned skydivers preparing their gear. They were making sure every part of the parachute was perfectly packed and ready to be used safely for their next jump. We walked into the registration room and signed our lives away (dramatic, I know), watched a brief safety video, and then met our instructors, mine was a funny guy named Miki. We put on jumpers, that smelled like at least 50 other sweaty men had worn might I add, and got into our harnesses. Our instructors explained to us everything that would take place from the moment they were done adjusting our get ups, to the ride up 14,000 feet high, to the plunge. The anticipation was high.
I can honestly say I wasn’t scared during the flight up, even though I was sitting directly next to the hatch that was left open the entire way up to our maximum height of 14,000 feet. I was on cloud nine, pun intended, looking over at all of the cane fields and orange trees, the brisk air hitting my face. After about fifteen minutes into our flight, Miki told me it was about time to take the leap. He made sure my hair was tied back and that I was securely fastened to him and to the parachute. He told me to scoot to the edge and squat by the exit. As I was standing at the edge, I looked down and it all hit me. I was about to free fall from 14,000 feet in the air with some guy who I have known for no longer than ten minutes. I had to entrust my entire life to him. He was giving me more instructions but at this point I was hearing nothing besides my own daunting thoughts. “What if he forgot to connect me to him?” and “What if he packed the parachute wrong and it malfunctions? I began to doubt my trust in the instructor, and even more so, my own capability to remember everything he had told me.
However, before I knew it, Miki was rocking us back and forth, three times to be exact. He rocked us forward once, “Ready?” and then backwards, “Set?” and then forwards again, “Lets goooo!” and then we were plummeting at 120 miles per hour towards the ground! Let me tell you when I say that it was the most exhilarating experience of my life, it was! There was just something about being up in the sky, literally in the clouds that made me feel like I had escaped earth and all my problems and responsibilities. The last thing I was thinking about was my safety and whether or not I would survive or not. I didn’t really care. I was overtaken with the beauty and the life that surrounded me. When Miki pulled the cord to release the chute, I was kind of sad. If it was up to me I would have stayed up in the air all day long. Yet, a few minutes later I was back on the ground wearing a smile that I couldn’t wipe off for the life of me.
You see, society has made it seem like we are not successful people until we have abundant finances, with a solid job and a perfect family. Another belief is we are not whole until stability has been achieved and we have measured up against world’s standards. When we have finally jumped out of the plane, our parachute is open and we are smooth flying. But, I think God finds more value in developing our character in the first two stages of every new season that I mentioned earlier, the preparation and the awkward in-between.
When I was witnessing all of the instructors packing their chutes back into their backpacks, I told my dad, “Man, you really have to trust that these guys know what they are doing.” Because I wanted to make my dream of skydiving come to fruition, I had to have faith that my instructor was going to carefully and knowledgeably make sure every cord was untangled and wrapped correctly and that he would make sure the parachute was folded perfectly so that it would correctly deploy and get us safely back on the ground.
When we were standing at the edge of the hatch seconds from jumping, I had to have auspicious confidence that Miki had properly attached me to his harness and I would be safe in his care on the way down. Because Miki had precisely prepared the chute and my harness correctly and because I trusted him in the face of uncertainty, standing at the edge of that plane, I was able to reap the rewards, a breathtaking and exhilarating experience.
When it comes to the risks we are given the opportunity to take in life, we often fail at getting through those first two stages, preparation and trust. because of self-doubt, insecurity, and complacency. We don’t prepare ourselves for success because we don’t have enough faith that success on a larger scale could ever happen for us. That kind of success only happens for the people we see on Instagram and on T.V. However, God has huge plans for each of our lives that is ours for the taking, all we have to do is delight ourselves in Him and He will give us the desires of our heart. However, we must prepare for what we pray for. We must change our stance from out of comfort to one of conviction. When we come to Jesus with our expectations our faith has to be in the fact that He will not only meet them but exceed them. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
Once we learn to prepare for what we pray for, we must make sure our hearts are rooted in truth and in faith. God wants to give us the desires of our heart but as many of us know, He does not give them to us overnight. The day we plant the seed, is not the day that is blooms. God has work to do in our hearts. He has invisible battles to win, that we may not even be aware that we are apart of. This is what I call the in-between, the waiting period. As Christians it can be hard to wait on God. Especially when it seems as though the world is against us even when we give it all the love, authenticity, and compassion as we possibly can. But I promise you, it is here where God works in us the most. It is here where the greatest and most worthwhile building of our faith and righteousness takes place. God shows this to us in Exodus 6:6-9.
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgement. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord. Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.”
God wanted to save the Israelite slaves from their suffering. He wanted to take them from a place of oppression to a place of triumph yet they were so worn down by the discouragement that had been planted in their hearts that they refused to accept God’s blessings. They were tired of where they were yet they did not prepare themselves well enough to receive freedom and joy. They depended on their own strength and not that of Christ’s during this transitory period and as a result, even when God set them free from their struggle and persecution they could not take those steps forward into the life of abundance that God had laid right before them.
It is so important, my friend, that when we are in this period, at the very edge of the plane, struggling to understand if the risk is worth it that we trust and wait. When we have trouble trusting God in situations we want control over, we are reminded that control over the unknown is not ours to have. We must place our doubts, worries, and insecurities into the hands of God, so that we with open arms, can receive all the blessings God wants to pour over us. Brace yourselves, people. God is about to show you things and take you places you never dreamed possible. Give Him your heart, give Him your trust, and He will give you everything you could ever need to achieve your greatest dreams.