Few will have missed the skydiver who broke the speed of sound in October. The Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner (43, why do we have to know people’s age?) prepared for 7 years for this memorable attempt. He jumped from 24 miles above New Mexico and reached a maximum velocity of 833.9 mph (1,342 km/h) during which he broke the speed of sound. No one knew what would happen to his body under such testing conditions; let alone what would happen to his mind!
Just how do you prepare for taking such a leap? In an interview before the attempt he gave an outline of how things would proceed: “then my suit will pressurize, I will step out, maybe say a little prayer and step off”.
I hope that he hadn’t left it to the last minute to “say a little prayer” in what could have been his last skydive! Although it’s considered a “taboo” to speak about death in our medically advanced world with a pill for every condition, we must be realistic. The skydive was more likely to bring him to the brink of his life and face the last enemy, which is death. Hopefully he was well prepared as the Bible gives us the sober reminder: ‘man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment’ (Letter to the Hebrews 9v27). Yet, it also brings us the good news of how this judgment is averted through the self-sacrifice of Christ, so that we are ready to meet our maker when the time comes.
The writer of Hebrews outlines how Jesus came to give up his life to take way the sins of many and so provide the way of forgiveness and knowledge of God. He reminds his readers: ‘and he will appear a second time, no to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him’ (Hebrews 9v28). Salvation involves being reconciled to God and enjoying life with him forever. Jesus promised to return to rescue his people for heaven and make the hope come true.
Few of us would take the step that Felix did in his skydive record, but all of us face hazards and health issues that will bring us to the brink. Are you ready for what is in the future? Only when we have this settled through coming to Jesus will we be able to rightly handle the things of today.