Ewa Wisnerska, a German paraglider, was preparing in Australia for the February 2007 world championship competition. She was flying around a rapidly developing storm front and was being tracked by her personal GPS and computer, when her greatest adventure began. She was swept up, up and away! Trapped in the merger of two storm cells, she was lifted to 32,612 feet above sea level in just 10 minutes. That’s higher than Mt. Everest at 29,035 which mountaineers call the death zone for its extreme cold. During almost an hour of being unconscious, she encountered hailstones the size of oranges and temperatures below minus 50 Fahrenheit. She gained consciousness at about 22,600 and landed safely 40 miles from her launch site. After hospitalization for frostbite and blistering to face and ears, she was released and could tell about her miraculous ride. What a ride!
How did she survive? No one really seems to know. Another paraglider was killed by the same weather system. She could have suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen. (I’m thinking that may have happened before she launched in such weather.) A few quotes from Ewa after the adventure indicate her brain is fine. “The glider kept climbing, climbing and I couldn’t see anything. Then it got dark. . .You can’t imagine the power. You feel like nothing, like a leaf from a tree going up. . .I was shaking all the time. The last thing I remember it was dark, I could hear lightning all around me.”
Okay, this story does NOT make me want to learn how to paraglide, but it does raise a few questions. Have you survived any life-threatening experiences after which you were pretty sure that God protected you and prolonged your life? Did you live your life afterwards with any sense of special purpose? Are you taking any risks in your Christian life, because of which you simply must put your trust in your Creator? In other words, are you counting on your own ingenuity or are you deciding every day to put your life in His hands? Are you caught up in the flow of His will? Are you allowing Him to guide your life and give it true meaning?
Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:24-25) Too often, I miss the wonderful adventures Jesus wants me to experience. I’m trying to save my life, instead of being willing to lose it for Him. I’m trying to gain the world or some part of it and I don’t notice the price tag, the loss of my very self.
Jesus offers the ride of a lifetime, far better than Ewa’s, but it involves even greater risks. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Article copyright (c) 2009 by Charles G. Mickey. All rights reserved.