31 August 2009

LIVING DANGEROUSLY


Zippity doo dah, zippity day, my oh my, what a wonderful day! Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way, zippity doo dah, zippity day.”

Depending on your age, you may or may not remember this song. For me, it pulsed vividly through my mind—with an emphasis on zippity, and minus the sunshine. Let me explain.

My husband and I had the privilege of accompanying a group of teens on a missions trip to Costa Rica (originally Honduras, but that’s a whole other post!). One of our days was a planned “half-day off” from our hard work. We were going to go zip-lining in the rain forest. Note the word rain in front of the word forest.

Strapped up, helmeted, gloved, and jingling as we hiked up the mountain trail, I wondered what I was getting myself into. My fear of heights gave me no room for comfort. Crawling up the steps to the first platform (yes, they were steps normal people would walk up, and yes, I crawled), I finally reached the top, hugged the tree (no, I’m not normally a tree hugger), and forced a brave smile. What? I was next? Already?!

With a metal clink I was hooked up, given a few directions, and pushed off the platform. I screamed like a banshee until I reached the next platform. Once my feet were on solid wood (hundreds of feet off the ground), I began to console myself that it really wasn’t that bad. After a few more runs, I actually opened my eyes to see the beauty of the rain forest below, and began to enjoy it. Then it happened.

While waiting on a platform, pit-pats of rain began hitting my helmet. The pit-pats turned to pelts, and the pelts turned into bullet-sized bombs. There was no place to run, no place to hide. Standing under large plant leaves didn’t help. They only drooped when rain heavy and funneled water down my backbone. Now I was cold. Could things get any worse? I had no idea they could.

I was next to go. My husband just disappeared into the blinding rain for the far-away platform nobody could see. It was the longest run yet, and held the beauty of a waterfall below. With a clink I was hooked to the zipline. Then it happened. A giant boom echoed and a bolt of lightning ripped through the sky and into the small clearing of the canopy just where I was to go. I hesitated and read the look of concern on the guide’s face. The only way out was zipping down that line. Of course, all the teens behind me wanted to get out of the rainforest. “GO!” they shouted. Easy for them to say.

Being under a tree, moving quickly, and touching wet metal: all the things my mom warned me not to do in an electrical storm. That moment of hesitation was a defining one in my faith. The situation was out of my control. Could I trust God to protect me? The storm would only get worse with waiting. Another boom of thunder and another crack of lightning ripped through the sky. I pushed off, committing my life into His hands. I’ve never been so scared in my life, nor so relieved. God didn’t disappoint me. I may not like my circumstances; I may feel out of control; I may be frozen in fear, but He’s always there in the midst of it all. Zippity doo dah, zippity day… there may not be “plenty of sunshine headed my way”, but when I abandon myself into His hands, it truly is “a wonderful day.” What’s going on in your zipline of life?