Last week I watched not one, but three of our daughters, jump out of a perfectly good plane attached to my brother, who is a tandem master.
It takes about 20 minutes for the plane to reach the right height to jump out of, 30 seconds of free fall before the parachute opens and then about 5 minutes till they land.
That is a long, long time when you are the person waiting on the ground.
According to the National Safety Council in America, an individual is more likely to die by a lightning strike or being stung by a bee than die skydiving. However, those statistics mean absolutely nothing, when it is your child jumping out of a plane and you are waiting to see whether the parachute will open.
As each daughter climbed into the tiny little plane, the same prayer went through my mind each time: God, please protect her and keep her safe, let her not be afraid and let her know joy.
It is a rendition of the same prayer I have prayed daily since the day of their births. On landing their faces reflected such joy and it reminded me of something Dallas Willard once said:
“It is a great and important task to come to terms with what we really think when we think of God. We should, to begin with, think that God leads a very interesting life and that He is full of joy. Undoubtedly, He is the most joyous being in the universe…great tidal waves of joy must constantly wash through His being. One of the most outstanding features of Jesus’ personality was precisely an abundance of joy.”
In John 15:11 Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” He goes on in John 14:9 “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
Once they were safely on the ground I could share in their joy.
I imagine God was sharing in their joy from the time they were being strapped up!