Spiraling Out Of Control: A True Story
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- Format: Folded Tract
- Paper: Gloss Text
- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 6
- Version: ESV
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The full text of this tract is shown below in the ESV version. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)
I was spiraling through the air at 2800 feet with a tangled parachute. I should not have survived.
Here is my story…
Trying in vain to fill the emptiness inside during my teen years, I had spiraled out of control. Now I was literally spiraling out of control in the air, with no one to help me and nothing to grab on to.
One day of training had me anticipating an exhilarating skydiving experience. After the weather was checked multiple times and my helmet and parachute were strapped on, I jumped from the plane, alone. My parachute deployed, but instead of amazing views, I could only see the tangled mess of a parachute above me and the fast-approaching ground beneath me. My attached radio was not working; there was only silence. None of the training properly prepared me for these terrifying moments. They only confirmed in my mind that I would not likely survive the impact when I hit the ground.
At twenty years old, I had not thought much about life after death. My knowledge of God didn’t go far beyond the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth. But as I fell, I vividly remember fearing I would never see my family again and yelling, “God, I don’t know what comes next!” I tried to decide if I should detach myself from the tangled parachute, risking my reserve chute not opening at all.
When I hit the ground, I was half unhooked from the main chute, conscious, numb, and stunned I was still alive. Those who witnessed my fall were also surprised to find me alive and conscious. Bones in my right leg and vertebrae were shattered and there was a compression fracture in my lower back.
It was clear my injuries would prevent me from moving out of town for college as planned. The physical recovery was severe: several surgeries, pins, screws, casts, braces, and lots of physical therapy, not to mention the immense emotional and mental recovery. I was obviously glad and surprised to be alive, but daily life was difficult. The future I had planned came to a sudden halt, as my body did when I hit the ground.
Three months after my accident—with an upper-body brace, a leg cast, and crutches—I went to a wedding I would not have attended had my parachute opened flawlessly and I had been away at school. Toward the end of the night, the groom introduced me to a friend of his in the wedding party. My accident and injuries provided a lot of conversation!
After several weeks of getting to know each other, he asked me if I had ever thought about how to get to heaven. I told him about the terrifying moments while I fell and how I didn’t know what would happen after I died. He excitedly shared with me all he was learning for himself in studying the Bible. For the first time, I saw the Bible as relevant and full of answers to my questions, instead of just an ancient book filled with mythical stories.
I learned the Bible is a book about God—who He is, what He has done, and what He will do. It is filled with historical details and fulfilled prophecies that have been scrutinized by scholars and found to be true. It also contains stories of real people, whose lives were completely changed because of its message of hope.
The Bible describes God as the Creator of the heavens, the earth, the seas, and everything in them—all of which put His glory and attributes on display. The Bible explains how God specially created the first man and woman in His image and placed them in the beautiful world He created. They enjoyed their relationship with God until the day they mistakenly believed that wasn’t enough for them. They rejected His authority and crossed the boundaries that He, like a loving parent for a child, had placed for their protection and good. Immediately, they felt the consequences of their decision, but there was nothing they could do to repair the damage of the broken relationship. There was now a new separation between God and man.
From that time, men and women have continued to reject the authority and loving guidance of God, even denying His existence. This has resulted in the broken, chaotic world we experience today. As Creator, God sees accurately the outward actions of every person, but He also sees the unkind thoughts of the mind and the selfish desires of the heart, from which actions flow. Every one of us will stand before God and the evidence of our sin is enough to convict us. We all want to see the guilty serve their appropriate sentence … until we are the guilty ones.
This is where I stood at 2800 feet in the air with a tangled parachute. If I had died upon ground contact, I would now be serving my death sentence. It was the most terrifying moment of my life to face death unprepared, but God heard my desperate cry to Him for help. In His mercy, God gave me a second chance and sent someone to explain what He did on my behalf. While the Bible tells of our guilt, it also tells of God’s plan to heal and restore the relationship man had ruined.
The plan was meticulously laid out through prophecies and foreshadowing. When the time came, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born as a man. He lived a perfect life on this earth, healing, teaching, and shepherding those who recognized He was the Savior to reconcile us to God. According to God’s plan, He then took on the punishment we deserved by being crucified for us. Romans 5:10 says, “...while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” He was buried in a tomb, which was sealed with a rock and guarded by Roman soldiers. On the third day, He rose from the dead and appeared to hundreds of people. After many days, He ascended bodily into heaven where He is preparing to come back to take His people to a new heaven and earth He will create.
Maybe your life feels like it’s spiraling out of control too, and you don’t have any answers. Maybe you feel as if you hit the ground hard. It may seem like you won’t survive, but maybe you are reading this now in order that you too may find what I found: eternal hope and peace. Instead of the radio silence you may be experiencing now, turn to God in prayer and cry out for help. The Bible says “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). The gift of complete forgiveness is not something we can earn by good works: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
If you have called on Jesus as your Savior or still have questions, find a local, Bible-believing church. Find one where people are humble, know their need for God, and appreciate His grace as revealed in the Bible. The Gospel of John is a good place to start reading in the Bible (you can find it online at esv.org/John). With Christ as our Savior, we have a parachute that will never fail us for life’s spirals. Life in this broken world is hard at times but over and over I have found this promise to be true: “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8). May you come to know “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, [that] will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
- Jill K., Ohio