I am very impressed by practitioners of the skill of “parkour”. If that term is new to you just Youtube the name and be amazed at the agility, strength and courage of some people. Courage is the polite way of describing what seems to me to be foolhardy bravado as I watch a young traceur (they all seem to be young) jump off rooftops or over high walls with seemingly no thought as to the landing, as to what might be on the other side. Personally I would never choose to go there, yet they seem to defy all limits to the human frame and survive unharmed. But do they? Contrary to popular opinion, human abilities have finite limits.
I remember watching the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. An event occurred during those games which sent shock waves around the world. For the previous 10 years the world men’s long jump record had stood at around 27 feet. (Those of you who measure in different units can do the conversion.) It had crept up slowly quarter inch by quarter inch from around 25 feet in 1900. But at the 1968 games a tall, lean, American called Bob Beaman, out of nowhere, leapt an unbelievable 29 feet 2.25 inches shattering all previous records by a massive 2 feet. Though he won the gold medal the officials said his achievement was questionable because of an exceptionally strong tail wind assisting him. However his record stood for 23 years, until 1991 when another American, Mike Powell, pushed the record up 2 more inches. Powell’s jump still stands today unsurpassed and Beaman and Powell remain the only 2 human beings to have ever jumped over 29 feet. Human efforts apparently do have finite limits.
Now imagine that the gap needing to be jumped between two tall buildings is 35 feet. It doesn’t matter if the jumper is the world’s finest traceur, Bob Beaman or Mike Powell, no one is going to safely reach the other side. My best long jump effort at my school’s sports day was around 10 feet; yours might be less or greater. Whatever the best that human efforts can achieve, everyone will land in the same predicament - not standing on the far rooftop but some way short, and rapidly heading downwards.
God says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. The very best of human efforts at living good, godly lives will never be good enough to carry us across the gap that exists at death between every person and a holy and perfect God. Yet how many people take that last leap into the unknown with little thought as to what might happen on the other side? I hear many say that they are assuming their best efforts will get them safely over. Is that courage or “foolhardy bravado”?
One day you, me, Mike Powell and everyone else will come face to face with that gap, the greatest leap of our lives, and no one has a choice about whether to attempt it. Are you hoping your best efforts will be good enough, or do you know someone who offers supernaturally strong assistance to get you across? It would surely be the height of folly to not take advantage of any help that is available to do what is humanly impossible. Jude talks about just such help in verses 24&25“Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling, and to cause you to stand, rejoicing before his glorious presence. To the only God our Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord, be all glory, majesty, power, and authority, before time, now, and for all eternity.”
We talked this week to a friend who just got the news she has lung cancer. She is refusing chemotherapy because she knows her future landing is assured, she trusts her Saviour will carry her safely over.
Whatever the best that human efforts can achieve, everyone will land in the same predicament...
Are you hoping your best efforts will be good enough, or do you know someone who offers supernaturally strong assistance to get you across?
Paul and Angelita Ogle are part of the Belfrey Groups Steering Team. They also lead the Belfrey Group 'Germinators'.