Faith and a zip line

By Jessica Connor

I’ve never quite considered myself an extreme-sports junkie.

Adventurous? Sure – I’ll hop on a roller coaster any day. The kind of person who’ll bungee jump or parachute out of a perfectly good airplane? Not likely.

But there I was, a hundred feet above the ground, zinging from tree to tree on a cord no wider than my thumb.

I was trying out the new zip line canopy tour during a Connectional Ministries retreat at Asbury Hills, and I was getting the ride of my life.

It takes a lot of faith to strap yourself into a harness, buckle on a helmet and allow your body to get hooked to a trolley high above the ground. It takes even more faith to step off the platform for the first time, hold your breath and let go of your inhibitions.

You must have faith that your harness is on correctly, that the strap will hold your weight, that the cable is secure, that you’ll make it to the other side.

In theory, I knew I’d be fine. Still, it’s a little scary.

The leap of faith we make on a zip line is a lot like the leap of faith we make as Christians.

We’re told the Good News, and armed with the right tools (the knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and died to save us from our sins) and a profound directive (“go make disciples”), we know we’ll be in heaven some day with our divine Father.

But when the world closes in, when dark times arise, when all seems lost, sometimes it takes a real leap to hold onto sustainable faith and let God take the wheel.

In his book “5 Beliefs Worth Dying For,” the Rev. Bill Bouknight reminds us that Scripture, both piercing and penetrating, is absolute truth inspired directly by God.

“I have been in hundreds of funerals,” Bouknight writes. “I have looked into the eyes of people so devastated by grief that they could hardly talk. Not all the good advice of Billy Graham, Robert Schuller and the Pope, rolled into one, could drive away their hurt.

“But it is amazing how the following 3,000-year-old words in a 300-year-old English translation can reach to the aching depths of their pain and bring some relief: ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want … Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me.’”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, Proverbs 3:5 urges us. Indeed. For when we let go and let God guide our lives, we live most fully. He is in the driver’s seat, and in turning our lives over to Him, we acknowledge His ultimate power and glory. We are His. And that’s really all that matters, isn’t it?

So I leaped that breezy October afternoon off a platform with only my harness and my faith to comfort me.

I think my gleeful “waahoo!” as I zipped through the trees said it all.

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