Saturday, October 17, 2009

If Everyone Else Jumped Off A Bridge ... ?

Remember those days when you wanted to do something that one of your friends was doing. Your parents, for their own reasons, said "No!"

"But everyone is doing it!" came your plaintive cry.

"Well" they answered with a wise, knowing look in their eyes, "If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?"

There was never an acceptable answer to that one. After all, NOBODY in their right minds jumps off a bridge, right? Well, not exactly.

Today near Fayetteville, WV, scores of thousands of people will gather to watch hundreds of otherwise competent human beings jump off the highest single span bridge in the world, just for the rush. The BASE (Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth) jumpers will dive from the surface of the span (which is off limits to pedestrians on the other 364 days of the year) into the beautiful New River Gorge.

Bridge Day is a big celebration in central West Virginia, bringing as many as 60,000 people to Fayette County. It began as a celebration of the 1977 completion of the span and has grown in scope each of the 32 years since it's inception. Rappelling is also allowed on Bridge Day, but the BASE jumping is the big draw. Three jumpers have lost their lives in the 876 foot fall to the New River on the floor of the gorge through the history of the event.

Even though there is not the slightest chance that I will ever (voluntarily at least) jump off the New River Gorge Bridge, I do share one thing in common with the jumpers.

It's called faith.

These folks put all their faith and trust into the parachutes and auxiliary chutes strapped to their bodies. The jumpers literally trust their lives to them. The parachutes are designed to guide the jumpers safely to a relatively soft landing, and thus far have only failed thrice.

I have trusted my life, indeed my eternal destiny to one whom I know to be able to deliver me safely home. Forty years ago (eight years before the completion of the big bridge) I took a leap of faith, trusting in the one who has NEVER failed. He has never lost a soul, and He never will.

Burdened down by the weight of the guilt of all my sin, I turned to Jesus. The message of Grace and Forgiveness to me was tremendously strong that night. Was it "irresistible",? Well, I honestly don't know, but somehow that night I KNEW I needed Christ. I knew that there was no hope for me apart from His saving power. I knew I had to have that relationship to which He was calling, and I came to Him. Life has never been the same.

The BASE jumpers talk of the rush of those few seconds that they are free falling, and the joy of seeing the chute unfurl above them. The BASE jumpers must have that small twinge of doubt as to whether or not the chute will open in time. While it may be exciting for a short time, I'm sure it can't compare with the rush I have in knowing that all along the way, He has promised that He will "never, no never, not ever, forsake me or leave me alone."

THAT is faith. That is assurance. For the long drop, I am never out of His grip of Grace!

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