Giant Leap of Faith
by Chaplain Lee Frye
It was the night before jump week at Fort Benning, Georgia. As I prepared myself mentally for the impending jump from a C-130 the next day, several thoughts raced through my mind. The aircraft would be moving at a high rate of speed (approximately 150 MPH), and I would jump from an altitude of 12,500 feet. This gripped my heart with fear, and it was one of the longest nights of my life. Still, I knew it must happen, because God had called me to be a pastor to soldiers, and jumping from planes is what soldiers do.
That night, I found great comfort in God’s Word. Scriptures such as Deuteronomy 32:11; Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 46; and 1 Thessalonians 5:24 reminded me that God will make this happen, for “He who calls you is faithful.” In the seclusion of my room, I felt God cover my heart with His wings of refuge and strength. He reminded me that not only was He there with me, but He was also faithful to what He had called me to do.
The very next morning at zero dark thirty, I found myself cruising through the air aboard a C-130 with a T-11 parachute strapped to my back and a reserve parachute strapped to my front. Following the commands of the jumpmaster, I stood, hooked up, shuffled to the door, and jumped out shouting, “Airborne!”
What an amazing feeling to fall through the air, feeling the heat and force of the jet engine, all while my canopy deployed above me. Suddenly, I experienced serenity and sights I had never experienced. It was short lived, however, because the ground approached rapidly. It was at this point that the words of Deuteronomy 32:11 came to mind. I prayed, “Dear Lord, please catch me.” After making a proper Parachute Landing Fall (PLF) my fear subsided, and I praised the Lord from a heart of newfound confidence.
I read a story from my wife’s devotional book titled “Walking in Total God Confidence.” While awaiting the arrival of her babies, the mother eagle prepares the nest with layer upon layer of soft feathers, making it as comfortable as possible. When the babies finally hatch, they find the nest warm and cozy. That’s when the mother eagle starts to make the nest uncomfortable.
She does this by removing a few feathers each day, until finally, the nest becomes unbearable. Her babies are forced to venture over to the edge of the nest and look down at the great abyss. Though their hearts are gripped with fear, they find the courage to take a leap of faith from the nest. Falling through the air and heading ever so quickly towards the earth, the two-month-old eaglets realize they don’t know how to fly yet.
Just before all hope is lost, the mother swoops down and carries them off on her wings. For the first time, the eaglets experience what they were born to do. They soar. From that moment forward, they are free from fear and confident to take a giant leap of faith.
Maybe you relate to my story or the story of the mother eagle and her eaglets. You need to take a giant leap of faith. Maybe God has been making you increasingly uncomfortable in your present state. Maybe He is intentionally pushing you beyond the boundaries of your warm and cozy life.
Maybe, just maybe, He wants us to take a giant leap of faith towards what He has called us to do. It will not be easy, and we might even have to experience falling for a while before the Lord sweeps us up. But, it is definitely better than missing out on God’s best for our lives. The Lord wants to deepen our dependence and confidence in Him and in ourselves. He wants us to realize that, like a mother eagle that protects her young, He is the ever-encircling protector. It is He alone who leads us. Let us trust in Him and welcome that next giant leap of faith.
About the Writer: Captain Lee Frye, Jr., is serving in Fort Gordon, Georgia, as the 442D Signal Battalion Chaplain. Read more about Free Will Baptist Chaplains.