Tethered by grace

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. Proverbs 3:5-6 GNT


I don’t know if you’ve ever put your life in the hands of someone who harnessed you into a contraption, like a parasail. It wasn’t against my will since I actually paid good money for the experience! The parasail is tethered to a boat and the boat takes off at breakneck speed pulling you high into the sky. You have no control over the parachute; you go wherever the boat pulls you. You are supposed to enjoy the ride and the breathtaking views from high over the ocean, and if all goes well, you are promised a soft landing ~  if you follow instructions.

A teacher friend, who was a senior class sponsor, invited me along for spring break. I saw it as a bit of a vacation away from the grind and so did she, but she knew the trouble the kids could get into . . . but that is not what this post is about. It’s actually about two adult women who did not follow instructions. Now before you go gettin’ too smug, haven’t you ever not paid attention when you were supposed to?

We were going double on this sky ride thingy and she was in back where the rip cord was located. I figured she should pay more attention to the instructions since she would be guiding our return to land and since I was in front, I should have no responsibilities whatsoever, right? Then suddenly we were up and away! The sky was a gorgeous blue with puffy white clouds and the water was so clear . . . way down, down, down below. I tried to not think about how high up we were. I tried to feel safe . . . tethered by a skinny rope . . . oh, what was I thinking to agree to do this? Was my insurance premium paid up?

We jabbered to each other as we took in all the scenery from high in the sky. With our aerial vantage point, we tried to pick out our hotel from all the hotel roofs we had to choose from. Needless to say we lost all track of time. Noting we were circling back toward shore I glanced down at the people “specks” and thought I saw one of those speck’s wildly waving its arms. Was that our guy giving us the signal to pull the cord and land this bird? I hollered at my pilot who was busy jabbering away. She concluded the frantic waving could not be intended for us since, in her estimation, we had not been up here long enough. Certainly the ride should last longer, shouldn’t it? I was more doubtful, but overruled since I had “no responsibilities whatsoever.”

Now we are approaching the shore again and the speck is larger this time and I could clearly see it was a guy flailing his arms and jumping up and down and his mouth was moving too, but we couldn’t hear what he was saying, which was probably a good thing. Again I yelled to my pilot who finally looked down for herself. Yep. Looks like he’s trying to get our attention. So she yanked on the cord and we started our decent. I guess I should tell you that the students on the beach were howling with laughter at the two of us. They got an earful of what was intended for us and they totally enjoyed watching two adults being bad examples and getting into trouble.

Needless to say, our landing was not a smooth one and we both got wet, but at least we were safely on the ground again . . . and got a lecture from the boss man. And as my husband likes to say, “I’ve done that twice, first and last!”

Perhaps I can attempt a spiritual application here. We are created in God’s image, in fact, we can look at our attachment to Him like a spiritual umbilical cord; sort of like the rope that attached the boat to our parasail. But like our unwillingness to follow instructions, I might tell God to leave me alone; to go pick on somebody else, that I can take care of myself. But an attachment to God is a good thing. I might even consider it my lifeline; another one of God’s gifts of grace.

“Grace brings us into a life that is greater than what sin could ever offer us. Grace extends the hand that lifts us out of the miry clay, throws the rope that pulls us from the deepest pit, and lights the flame that brings us out of the darkest cave. Without His grace we were without hope, without the assurance of heaven, and bound by the fear of death; by His grace we abound in hope, we rejoice in the certainty of the resurrection, and we glory in knowing that the very best is still ahead.” Roy Lessin, “Today is Your Best Day”, pgs. 91, 96

I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.    Jeremiah 29:11, GW






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