Grip Strength And Longevity

I recently saw a video of a scary hang gliding incident.  The video was being recorded by a camera mounted at the back side of the glider.  The video begins with the instructor and passenger running with the glider and jumping from the slope of the huge hill and immediately the student realizes he is dangling from the glider because the instructor forgot to strap him in.  It didn't take long for the instructor to realize what he had done (or not done) and the very serious situation his passenger was in.  

The glider climbed higher and higher and the passenger held on with all of his strength.  If he were to let go, he most certainly would've died.  The video which seemed to last for an eternity showed the frantic passenger soaring above treetops and beautiful green pastures.  I'm certain he saw the picture as horrifying and not as beautiful but he managed to hang on long enough to see the glider eventually descend to within a few feet of the ground.  Finally, he could let go. The fall caused him to break his wrist along with a few other injuries but he lived.  

He lived only because he held on.  He held on even though his muscles burned. He held on despite feeling like the nightmarish ride was never going to end.  He held on despite the fact that he was in the situation because of the negligence of someone else.  He held on because holding on was the only option he had to make it through the terrible ordeal.  

Though many of us will never put ourselves in the position of the passenger of the hang glider we will find ourselves in difficult and seemingly perilous situations: an unforeseen job loss, a wayward child, a dreaded diagnosis by a doctor, divorce, loneliness, depression, etc.  In those seasons we often feel things are out of our control and we don't know what to do.  We are carried about by the invisible winds and the security of the ground seems so far away.  What do we do?  As believers, we hold onto God and His promises.  We don't let go.  Don't let them slip.  Tighten your grip on the promises and truths you've stockpiled through your life of following Jesus.  Three times in the Book of Hebrews the exhortation to "hold on" is given (Hebrews 3:14, 4:14, 10:23). What a reminder to us today.  As believers, we know that Jesus keeps us saved and is holding on to us, but not leaning on the truth in the hard times will cause us to miss the blessings of the season.  Warren Weirsbe famously said, "The faith that has not been tested cannot be trusted."  

I find it interesting that a recent medical study claimed that grip strength has the highest correlation with living longer than any other measure of strength.  That was truly the case of our hang glider friend but maybe it's true for our spiritual health as well.  Hold onto the promises and don't let go.

-Pastor Jamie Tickel
Lead Pastor
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