Summary: We all hold different views on war and that’s O.K. ~ but we can learn some vital lessons for our Christian walk.
LESSONS FROM THE WAR
Who Packs Your Parachute?
Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface~to~air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent six years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!” “How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb. “I packed your parachute” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said “Good morning, how are you”? Or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know. Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute:”
Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory ~ he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year recognize people who pack your parachute.
(This story was kindly forwarded to me by a friend via e~mail).
Before we begin to look at this message I want to reassure you that we are not going to discuss whether the war in Iraq is right or not. We all hold different views on this particular matter and I want to say that’s O.K. You know, I once asked God how could Christians hold such opposing views, and both be right! The only answer I seemed to receive was that because we did hold different opinions heartfelt prayer could be offered from both viewpoints. Perhaps God has all the bases covered!
2. Can We Learn Anything?
So what I want to do is to see if we can learn any lessons from the war.
I think this war had some unique features highlighting the instant high tech world we live in today. Because of modern technology and communications we could see what was happening live from our armchairs. Its almost as if we were actually there on the frontline, flinching from the bullets and jumping to take cover from the bombs. I will never forget the tension I felt watching the Iraqi forces looking for missing airmen in the reeds on the Tigris River. I felt so frightened that they would be captured, praying earnestly that they would not be found. I was there ~ almost.
You know it must have been so different years ago. Life in general went at a much slower pace than today, including wars. News of loved ones took months to arrive, if ever. Battle campaigns were often long drawn out events. For example, it usually took months to besiege a city and wait patiently until either the inhabitants surrendered or starved to death.
Perhaps there was a stricter embargo on what news could actually be reported ~ now we can see everything, with the cameras following the action closely, maybe too close for comfort.
Everything, included war has speeded up in our generation. It can leave you breathless, disorientated. It seems to me that we can so easily become anxious and troubled at events happening around us. It all seems to happen too quickly. It can easily seem everything is out of control.
Let’s Learn Our First Lesson
There are going to be wars. Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:6 that “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars”. Yet He told us “but see to it that you are not alarmed”. Why? Because Jesus is in overall control. As my nephew Jack said to his Mum, “You’re not in charge here ~ Jesus is”! You can’t argue with his theology! Maybe we too need to remember that Jesus is in charge ~ always.