“He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.” (Psalm 91:4)
I am scared of heights, so I confess the emotion I felt watching Felix Baumgartner was not envy. It was in awe that man could accomplish this feat–the man that God made from dust. Of course, “man” is also the same being who can try to steal an ATM machine by hitching it to his truck and then leaving the scene of the crime with his license plate behind on the ground. Some jump out of the sky, while some you can watch on America’s Funniest Videos, and some don’t use their head a whole lot–and I am speaking of women too. Many people would argue that all three of these apply to some of us.
That said, last Sunday 8 million people watched a live video than any other time in history. As Austrian Felix Baumgartner, 43, jumped from a space capsule 24.2 miles above sea level, wearing a pressurized space suit, not only did he break the sound barrier, he reached 833.9 miles per hour. Unbelievable.
He went into a spin at one point but was able to correct himself, and he also told mission control that his helmet visor was fogging up, due to a broken heater in the face shield. After the successful dive, he told press that as he stood on the edge of the capsule, ready to dive he said he thought. . .
“‘Please, God, don’t let me down. But if you are standing in His son’s arms, there is nothing that can go wrong in that moment.’ That is what I was thinking.”
“When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble, you do not think about breaking records anymore, you do not think about gaining scientific data,” he said after the jump. “The only thing you want is to come back alive.”
Right before he jumped he said, “I know the whole world is watching right now and I wish the world could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you really are.”
I searched online for his beliefs, but found little, although the Christian sites are all lit up with the news that he must be a believer because he said he felt “small” up there. While we don’t know the faith of Mr. Baumgartner, we can hope that if he doesn’t yet know Jesus, this experience he has had will help him keep that perspective of “being small” and knowing you need Jesus to get through the tough challenges in life. He is planning to wed his girlfriend and looking forward to having children. In some ways, he still faces some of the bigger challenges in life.
Frankly, if I was as healthy as possible, there is still no way that would be me up there jumping or out on the tightrope like Nik Wallenda this summer over Niagara Falls. I am still debating about just going on a hot air balloon ride someday. So, I celebrate their dedication and determination and I pray for their worried wives, mothers, girlfriends, and children. And I hope God will save their lives.
Because you and I know all too well that just because God is in control doesn’t mean that we are always guaranteed a happy ending. Sometimes we feel like our parachutes don’t open when they are supposed to. For now, I am glad it was a success. . . and I hope He knows the Lord did give him an extra dose of mercy last week. I hope he finds a way to use his new perspective of our world.
About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.
Do feats like this jump by Felix Baumgartner inspire you? Or do they ever discourage you because you wish you could have just a little bit of the person’s health?
Here is the video of Felix Baumgartner’s decent onto earth. And here you can watch a video of the view from his head-mounted camera.