This week’s post is by my good friend, Christine Taylor, a team partner for the Treasure Hunters Team of Graham Cooke’s intercessory team, The Warrior Class. Christine, a Jesus-lover and worshiping warrior, is passionate about taking ground in the clash between two kingdoms.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles . . . (Isaiah 40:31).
It was to be a short weekend at the coast, just a friend and me. I knew all along that this trip was about spending time with The Lord, but as always there were unexpected and delightful surprises that awaited us.
Picture perfect: ocean waves, warm sand and time away to spend in worship. What could be better than that?
On our way to the coast, I came across a pamphlet about tandem paragliding. I felt a leap in my spirit and called to sign up. The next thing I knew, two good friends and I found ourselves driving on the beach to connect with a paragliding instructor.
Following a brief instructional time, we were ready to sail. Altogether we spent twenty minutes (all recorded on a “go pro” video camera) soaring on the wind, and we reached an altitude of 3,000 feet. It was a peaceful, beautiful and gentle ride.
Since the flight, I’ve had an ongoing dialogue with the Holy Spirit about the parallels of the paragliding and spiritual life.
Soaring with Jesus is like this:
I have to be the one to decide that I want to take the flight. I will always need to say, “Yes!” to the invitation. My permission is needed to fly high and soar.
The flying is always done in tandem. My Teacher is in charge and His goals for me are to draw me ever closer, while showing me the things that delight my heart—those I can’t see from an earthbound perspective. His goal is to keep me safe.
I’m an active participant in the flight. To paraglide, I needed to be fitted with the appropriate equipment, but I also had to run forward and indeed lean into the wind to take off. I was required to listen closely to my Teacher and not move until told, “Run!” While little effort was required—Teacher, wind, sail and vehicle provided all I needed—I had to move my feet forward in order to lift off.
In order to soar, the wind (the Holy Spirit) was needed to fill the sail. I also needed Jesus at my back, constantly speaking instructions to me: “Turn here. Lean forward. Lean back. Now sit. Now stand.” I also needed the anchor, the truck engine, of the Father to tow us until we reached the appropriate height.
As my altitude changes, so does my view. Once aloft, I can see vistas that can’t be appreciated from the surface of the earth. Here, I am seated in heavenly places and able to truly appreciate all we’ve risen above. God provides me with breathtaking views of the world below. I can see miles in either direction with no obstruction to my view. Jesus is right there to point out the deep mysteries of God that so delight my heart: a collection of whales breeching off the coastal line.
In time, I am offered an opportunity to navigate: “Shift to the right here, and pull down with your right hand. Now move to the left—gently, gently.” I know all the while that I am safe and protected, even from myself. He remains in charge of my speed, my direction, and my altitude. I have nothing to fear.
At times, there may be hair-raising turns. Some take my breath away and cause my head to spin. I laugh in delight, but His grip on me always remains firm. He always steers me clear. I can also hear His joyous laughter at my back as we spin crazily.
From start to finish, the soaring felt effortless, gentle and exhilarating. Trusting in Jesus and the process of soaring with Him eliminates all the aspects of work and performance mindsets. Instead it becomes a gentle, joyful journey.
My landings may be a bit bumpy at times. That day, I landed on my backside. But I had the gentle voice of the One who adores me encouraging me to stand and stand again.
It is after all, a training ground. Perfection is not required. Only a willing heart.
The 45th Parallel is a series that explores spiritual parallels in everyday sights. I invite you to email a photo you’ve taken and tell how it illustrates our relationship with God. It may be featured in an upcoming blog post.
Christine Taylor has worked as PA (physician assistant) for twenty years and is currently working in Urgent Care. She has two sons, and is the proud grandma of two grandsons. She just took her first sky diving adventure with her youngest son for their collective birthday celebration.