Recently, I had a once in a life time opportunity to jump out of a plane. Now that I have your attention, you should also know that I survived the ordeal, which I am eternally grateful for. However, what is amazing is the range of emotions and thoughts that cross the mind of an ordinary pastor that does something completely extraordinary and out of character. Allow me to explain the ordeal to the thrill seekers out there and some of the thoughts that crossed my mind in the aftermath.
You see the experience began with a very brief training, and when I say brief I mean that it was less than twenty seconds long. Notwithstanding, it was enough time to increase the uneasiness that I was feeling. The group that had just completed the quest before us was beginning to land safely. Shortly after this, a man who looks like he just stepped out of the X-games comes over and asks me my name and tells me to follow him over to the plane that included two parallel aluminum benches. Nothing screams safety in a plane like aluminum benches. Within six minutes we had gone from the runway in a middle of a farmer’s field to 12000 feet above Abbotsford. After reaching that desired elevation and watching two others being pushed out of the plane before me, my X-games friend latches himself to me and we make our way out of the side of the plane. What ensued was forty seconds of absolute mayhem as you free fall that reaches a breathtaking speed exceeding two hundred miles per hour. After this the parachute opens and the noise of the wind is hushed as I dangle from my friend in an adult-sized jolly jumper. This peaceful and beautiful experience lasted all of six minutes before we, too, land safely. It is at this point that I am most thankful for the parachute and the man who opened it because it saved my life. However, it did require faith. Let me explain.
You see a common perception in our world is that there are many pathways that lead to salvation or heaven. It is this kind of a worldview that is often presented as a rebuttal to the ‘exclusive’ claims of Christianity. What is even more fascinating is that this worldview has also crept into the minds and literature of professing Christians. So the question that must be answered then is, ‘are they right?’ Do all religions lead to the Heaven? Or, is there only one way?
To help answer the question, allow me to first take us back to my tandem skydiving experience. After jumping out of the plane I quickly realized there was only one way that my life was going to be saved that day. The only way I was ever going to be able to see my beautiful family again was by having all the corresponding events take place that eventually lead to the parachute opening and slowing my descent. This was a service that was offered to me by my X-games friend, and I am grateful for it. In the same way we are told as Christians that we too must have faith that Jesus came for that exact reason, that we might have our lives saved for eternity.
And so if there is anyone whom we should listen to as they answer this very question it should be God. Here are the actual words of the living God, as Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” For us Christians we cannot hold such a contradicting worldview as to say, “Jesus is simply a way among many.” To make this claim would be to say that the very one whom we worship as Lord and Savior is actually a deceiver or even worse a liar. Whether we like it or not God has answered this question for us. “I am the way!” Therefore it is now up to us as believers to help the ones we love understand that we do not present Christ as a better option to their current path. Rather we offer them the greatest path that could ever be offered one that is unparalleled as it has eternal implications for them. We offer them our greatest reward because we desire that they too will have the faith that will lead them to throne room of heaven. We don’t offer this as a way to say ‘told you so’. We offer as a way to say I love you too much to keep this from you. And then we too begin to have the kind of faith that would lead us to pray that our loved ones would embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and savior because he is unapologetically “The Way” and I am grateful for that.