Go Ahead and Jump

by Dale Reeves

Story Pastor


Last weekend, my wife and I traveled to the newest National Park in America, the New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia, to enjoy the vibrant colors of autumn trees. We had beautiful weather and really caught the trees at their peak, which was amazing! We spent much of Thursday and Friday driving around the park, enjoying the visitor centers, the drives, overlooks, waterfalls, and God’s beautiful creation. What we didn’t know was that Saturday in Fayetteville was “Bridge Day,” West Virginia’s largest single-day festival. This is the only day each year that 100,000 people gather to see serious BASE jumpers fly off the world’s second-longest arch bridge that stands 876 ft. above the gorge. We chose not to hang around with the crowd near the bridge, but instead enjoyed some other local spots and watched brave souls kayak and raft down the Gauley River, with its class V rapids.


The first Bridge Day was held in 1980. These days approximately 300 people jump off the bridge and parachute down to a beach landing zone next to the New River. The oldest jumper so far was 81 years old, and the youngest was 19 years old. In order to participate, entrants must have made 50 prior parachute jumps, skydives, or BASE jumps. In the years that they have been doing this, three people have lost their lives due to accidents. On Friday as we were driving down the winding road to cross the original Fayette Station Bridge and view the monumental steel arch bridge from the bottom of the New River, we saw a number of search and rescue boats making preparations the day before just in case they were needed! The jumpers have several options to choose from. They can exit the bridge from the main platform, a swing off the platform, a scissor lift, or for extreme daredevils—the human catapult!


Here’s a video of the BASE jumping at New River Gorge on “Bridge Day”:


Falling or Flying

Have you ever been in the midst of some kind of trial or pain, whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual, and you felt like you’re on the precipice of a cliff about to fall? You didn’t know where your next step would take you. You weren’t sure how many more days you could go on, maybe you even felt like you were at the end of your rope. You may have been praying to God and feel like you weren’t being heard, or you didn’t like the answer you received.


When you find yourself in that kind of situation, here’s some advice via a Tweet attributed to Christian musician TobyMac’s “Speak Life” quotes:

“When you feel pushed to the limit, trust Him fully, because only two things can happen. Either He will catch you when you fall, or He will teach you how to fly.”


God’s Word promises us . . .

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Psalm 37:23, 24, NLT).


“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV).


And just like baby eaglets we may resist, fearing the flight. But just like the eagle, our faithful Father watches and waits nearby to catch us until we can fly on our own (Deuteronomy 32:11).


The best thing you can do is just do that trust fall thing, and lean into God with everything you’ve got. Not only does God promise us he will never leave us while we’re in a dark valley, he provides some parachutes to lean into when we’re facing pain and trials of various kinds. These parachutes can help keep us afloat and help us land on our feet safely. They include his constant presence, the ways in which he has met our needs in times past, and the friends and supportive people he brings into our paths in our times of need.


Taking Decisive Steps

In 1983, the rock group Van Halen released a song that would become their #1 single. Vocalist David Lee Roth wrote the lyrics after watching the news and seeing a man on top of the Arco Tower threatening to commit suicide. He thought that one of the bored onlookers might have shouted out, “Go ahead and jump.” He wrote the lyrics to the song as he was driving around LA in his convertible.


“I get up and nothin’ gets me down.

You got it tough, I’ve seen the toughest around.

And I know, baby, just how you feel,

You got to roll with the punches and get to what’s real.


Ah, might as well jump (jump), might as well jump;

Go ahead and jump (jump), go ahead and jump.”


In subsequent years, explaining that he wasn’t pushing listeners to suicide, Roth said that the song could easily be interpreted in the spirit of “Let’s get down to business.” So people began to view the song as a call to take a decisive step, not to miss a favorable opportunity in life.


Opportunities to trust God and fall forward into his waiting arms are presented to us all the time. Often, our obedience begins with taking that decisive first step.


If you’re a man or know a guy who could benefit from our Man Church gatherings, I will talk some more about “Playing Through the Pain” this coming Tuesday, October 25, at 6:30 pm in the basement at Christ’s Church, followed by a bonfire on our church property. When the men of our church get together for these evenings, we hear each other’s stories, and challenge one another to take leaps of faith—viewing Christ and one another as our necessary parachutes. You can find out more here.


What leap of faith has God been calling you to lately? He is faithful. Go ahead and jump.

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