Do you think you could fall out of an airplane without a parachute and survive? Vesna Vulovic, a former Serbian flight attendant did while flying over Czechoslovakia in 1972. Croatian terrorists planted a bomb in the baggage section of the aircraft that blew the plane to pieces and killed everyone on board except Vesna. Somehow she landed and was found stuck between another passenger who died and a catering trolley.
A former German World War II medic found her. She suffered temporary paralysis since she broke three vertebrae, fractured her skull and broke both her legs. It seems even more impossible that she fell 33,330 feet! She later told newspaper reporters that even though she went through this experience she still has no fear of flying.1
There have been several incredible stories over the years of people who survived falls from amazing heights. We marvel at the impossible odds of survival. But when faced with our own challenges we are sometimes quick to say, “I just can’t do it” or “It’s impossible for me to change.” Perhaps we struggle with an addiction, a destructive habit, or feel locked in a hurtful relationship. Friends tell us to quit, to stop the damaging activities, or to get out. But we feel hopeless and weak.
Trapped in Sin
We are all trapped in sin and without help from outside of ourselves, we are stuck. It is impossible for us to truly change our lives for the better. We must face ourselves and admit defeat. It might feel like falling out of an airplane without a parachute. As we tumble down and crash, it seems we’ll die, but this is the first step toward truly living.
Here’s how the Bible describes the importance of going down. “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones’” (Isaiah 57:15, NKJV). The word contrite is related to the term for “bruise.” Confessing sin can be painful.
Falling down is necessary for us to be lifted up. Admitting failure is the pathway to being raised to life. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6, NIV). Until we are broken and acknowledge that it is impossible for us to change ourselves, we will live in defeat.
Set aside your fears. Face yourself and fall to your knees. Though you feel like you are in an unbearable place, remember what God once told a prophet who looked at a hopeless situation: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27, NIV).