When I was a little boy, I heard a story I’ve never forgotten; a story I thought at the time was hilarious, but now I see as a somewhat poignant picture of an ‘all-too-often-lived-out-faith.’ It’s a tale of two words, you might say: ‘Fortunately’ and ‘Unfortunately.’

It seems that a man decided to do something exciting on his 40th birthday. He decides to go skydiving.

Fortunately, there was a skydiving teacher in his hometown, who had an opening for him.

Unfortunately, he didn’t tell his wife what he was planning, so she could have talked him out of skydiving on his 40th birthday.

Fortunately, on the day of his jump, the weather was perfect.

Unfortunately, on the day of his jump? The weather was so perfect the man couldn’t blame the weather if he decided not to jump.

Fortunately, the man was a fast learner, and he quickly mastered the rules for jumping out of an airplane with a parachute.

Unfortunately, his teacher didn’t talk much about landings.

Fortunately, his first jump out of the airplane was very exciting.

Unfortunately, the way his parachute didn’t open … was terrifying.

Fortunately, he had an emergency chute.

Unfortunately, it didn’t open either.

Fortunately, there was a huge haystack on the ground beneath the man as he plummeted toward earth.

But unfortunately, there was a pitch fork in the haystack.

Fortunately, he missed the pitchfork.

But unfortunately, he missed the haystack.

As a little boy, I remember thinking that the guy who jumped out of the plane was terribly unlucky. He didn’t have any luck celebrating his birthday; he didn’t have any luck opening either of his parachutes. He had no luck landing in a haystack with no pitchforks. In fact, he was totally out of luck landing in a haystack at all.

Ever had a time when life’s ups and downs had very few ups, and a lot of downs.  Life can feel like a freefall from dizzying heights, with nothing beneath us but cold, hard ground. What do you do when you’ve pulled every string you know to pull, and you feel like you’re totally out of luck, and unfortunately, what comes next is going to be very scary?

Kingdom living doesn’t involve luck. There are two sides to luck: Luck can be fortunate or unfortunate, depending on the outcomes of chance happenings. But God leaves nothing to mere chance.

I’m not lucky I know Jesus as my savior. But I am more than fortunate. In fact, my life because of Jesus is totally blessed. There is positively no ‘unfortunate’ part of knowing Jesus.

I may feel at times like I’m in a free-fall in midair, and I’m holding on to him for dear life. But if I follow His plan, the only unfortunate reality is that if I’m not careful, I may miss the exhilaration of a life lived by faith.

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