To Battle We Go: Jumping Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane

By: Dr. Steve Kellner

During World War I, and just a few years after the Wright brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk, military services around the world started experimenting with soldiers parachuting out of airplanes. Man had dreamed of flying for millennia, and just when he got off the ground it was time to jump out of the plane!

The idea made perfect sense militarily. Instead of having to fight their way into enemy territory, paratroopers could drop in behind the lines, often without the enemy even knowing they were there. Some of the most famous units in the U.S. Army, like the 82nd Airborne and the 101st Airborne, made their reputations doing just that as part of the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. The element of surprise, doing the unexpected, was the secret to their success.

But there were many obstacles to overcome in creating these airborne units. Paratroopers had to travel light, landing without heavy weapons and with just a couple of days’ rations. The D-Day jumps were made at night, so they couldn’t see the landing zone they were trying to hit. Some of the D-Day paratroopers did not achieve surprise and took enemy fire as they floated down. And we can’t forget the well-founded fear that their chutes wouldn’t open, or that most of the soldiers had never flown before. That’s right, those training to become the first paratroopers jumped out of the very first airplane they ever flew on!

It can be comfortable for Salvationists to stay seated in a perfectly good airplane as well. We like our corps to operate a certain way, to serve in the same way we always have, and we don’t like the disruption of trying new ways of doing things. But sometimes we need to jump out of the plane, do something unexpected, and take the enemy by surprise.

The obstacles to doing this are like what faced the first airborne paratroopers. We’ll have to travel light, not hang on too tightly to what we know and love, as the disciples had to do when Jesus sent them out for the first time on their own with no money, no extra cloak or sandals, no bag for the journey. We’ll be in the dark about how the new direction will turn out, there being no guarantee of success. And Satan’s forces will certainly take some shots at us once the element of surprise is lost, especially if we are expanding the Kingdom.

Finally, like Peter stepping out of the boat to go to Jesus, we’ll have to trust the Lord that the chute will open when we jump. So, if you feel the Holy Spirit urging you to jump out of the plane into a new ministry or a new way of doing the ministry you’re already in, close your eyes (in prayer), yell “Geronimo!” and… jump.