I expected to be afraid even though it was something I had chosen to do. I'd seen several others come down safely several times before me. I was still anxious. I had four hours to prepare emotionally. That didn't seem to help. I still expected to be afraid when the door of our Cessna 182 opened up and my jumpmaster instructed me to get out on the 12 inch square step of the airplane with more than ten thousand feet of air between me and the ground. I expected there would be the moment that I might just look at the pilot and say, "Let's go home!" instead of "Let's go!"

My experience was much different than I expected. I'm sure my adrenaline was pumping. Maybe I was thinking about having to explain to my friend why I chickened out. Maybe it was because this was something I had wanted to do for a long time. The door opened. This was the moment! 90 mile per hour wind caught my jumpsuit. We stepped out together, grabbed the strut coming from the wing, turned right and launched ourselves out of a perfectly good airplane.

I saw the ground flip, then saw sky, then the airplane as we fell away from it, then a dark blue sky, then the ground again before we got stable, belly down, in the air. We'd done a flip. Suddenly, I couldn't breathe. It could have been my asthma. It could have been air rushing in my face at 140 mph. Maybe it was the thin air at altitude. My breath returned as we dropped. I grew calm. We fell for 45 seconds, doing spins in the air first left, then right, and then left again. This was fun! Suddenly, our chute opened. I got to control the parachute for much of the way down. The rest of the ride was surprisingly quiet, peaceful, and exhilarating all at the same time.

I'm not sure words can describe the experience, but I know that it wasn't unlike my relationship with Jesus. I was in unfamiliar territory. It helped knowing the jumpmaster had done it 1351 times before. His confidence eased my fear. During our freefall, I wasn't really aware of his presence. I couldn't feel him above me because of the wind and pressure, but then I noticed a very gentle movement of my arms from above that allowed us to spin. He was in control. He was always there, watching, and keeping me safe — I was totally dependent on my jumpmaster. If something had happened to him, I could not have pulled the rip chord and I wouldn't be writing this. It was an exercise in faith. Faith in Jesus is much the same. He's been where we are going. Often we need to launch out into territory that at first doesn't seem natural or even rational. We may be terrified, but he's always there, keeping us safe. I hope you enjoy the ride.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." (Luke 5:3-5)