Faith: “firm belief in something
for which there is no proof.”
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen.”
I watched a documentary on the earth’s atmosphere a couple of years ago. I was impressed by an Air Force Captain they interviewed. Captain Joe Kittinger was a test pilot for the Air Force beginning in 1953. He worked on many projects, but in 1958 he headed up Project Excelsior. It was a project that worked on the issue of high altitude bailout for pilots. A high altitude balloon was used and an open gondola was attached to it. The balloon and its test pilot would go to the edge of space and the pilot would return by parachute. Sounds scary doesn’t it?
Not to Captain Joe Kittinger. Five times Captain Kittinger took this journey into the sky and back again. His highest flight was 102,800 feet and on his return, he broke the speed of sound in a free fall. Now, this is a pretty abbreviated version of what he actually did and there were a few problems, but still, it is impressive.
When asked about that step out of the gondola, Kittinger replied, “When everything was done, I stood up, turned around to the door, took one final look out and said a silent prayer: ‘Lord, take care of me now.’ Then I just jumped over the side.” I can’t imagine the faith it took for him to take that step, to “just jump,” but he had faith in the program, in himself to be successful in this venture, and faith in God’s protection.
Of course, I could never see myself doing anything like this and surviving! I’m just not designed to be a physical risk taker. However, God does call us to be faith risk takers. To take the risk of sharing the Gospel, in serving God and our community, and in our day-to-day lives to trust that God will provide and care for us.
Some of God’s greatest faith risk takers are mentioned in Hebrews 11, the faith chapter. By faith, each of these risk takers took that first step and walked into uncharted territory. Without God, they would have been unsuccessful, but with God in the middle of it, they had successes beyond their imaginations. If you haven’t read this chapter in a while, why not take the time to do so today. Find that one inspirational figure that touches you and make an effort to live by faith as they once did.
Martin Luther said, “Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it.” Are we willing to risk death for our faith in our God? Does our faith boldly trust in God? These are questions we can and should ask ourselves periodically. I know I want to be a faith risk taker. I don’t want to live unaware of what God can do through me. We can all learn a lesson from Captain Kittinger. Before we take that step that might overwhelm us, offer up that little prayer, “Lord, take care of me now.”
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,