I believe in God’s protection through faith.
Faith is the cornerstone of the Christian life. Faith in God can be a refuge of strength in a time of need. It can protect you from enemy assaults and reward you in all your endeavors. No other event in my life has shaped this belief than my first night time jump in the 82nd Airborne Division.
It was only a coulple of months after September 11th 2001. My friends and I were all compelled to put our college/work lives on hold and join the United States army. After completing my initial training at Fort Jackson and Fort Bliss, I was assigned to the 82nd Airborned Division. The heroic exploits of this divison are legendary. Especially for their fearlessness to jump out of a perfectly good airplane! I remember it clearly. 62 paratroopers jam packed into a C-130. It was dreadfully hot and miserable. Sweat came profusely from every pore of my body. I was apprehensive because this was my first night jump with full combat equipment and a mass attack exercise. I remember looking out the window of the plane and seeing droplets on the window. To my horror a streak of lightning crossed the sky!
“We’re still jumping!” the jumpmaster yelled. I began to search for my Gideons Bible in my cargo pocket and turned to Psalm 91.
As to be expected, whatever you do in life someone has to ridicule you. As I read my psalm in the eerie red glow of the plane, the sergeants to my left and right began to laugh at me.
“Look Smith. New troop praying for his life” he laughed.
“Put that away private. You don’t need God here. Just remember your training. That book won’t help you” he mused at me. I just shook my head. I happen to notice another young troop on the other side of me with tears welling in his eyes. I got his attention and held up my little Bible. He smiled and gave me a thumbs up. My sergeants just laughed.
About that time the jumpdoor open. The rush of wind sounded like a growl from the deepest bowels of Hell with all its fury unleashed. As my turn approached to go out the door I silently said “God I know you will protect me.” I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth for the explosion that comes from leaping from a plane. Yes, I did it afraid. My body was wracked and pulled in every direction. Pain ran its course through me. Chaos ruled over me.
Tnen all was silent. Darkness. A peaceful tranquility came over me as raindrops pelted my face and gusts of wind dried them away. I basked in the moonlight way up there in the twilight sky; however, I had forgotten the most important part. The landing! Before I knew it the drop zone came up and slammed me. Hard. I was bruised, but nothing serious.
We rushed to the final manifest to make sure everyone was accounted for. To my surprize, the two sergeants who were beside me were not in the ranks. Later, we received information that both had sufferred injuries. One a broke leg and the other a broke back. My jaw dropped and my eyes widend.
As we marched back to our transport, I said a silent prayer for those two sergeants and thanked God for keeping me. I couldn’t help but smile as I looked up into the starlit sky.
Faith is a powerful gift from God. This I do Believe.
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