To celebrate the release of Fearless, UpWords is giving away a free chapter of Fearless each week for a month. We have already sent chapters 1 & 5. This week we present chapter 6 of Fearless, and will give away chapters 9 & 13 from Fearless in the coming weeks-five chapters of Fearless for free. We hope you enjoy and will share the chapters with friends and family.
Read on for an excerpt from the Fear Not Promise Book, then download Chapter 6 of Fearless.
Courageby Max Lucado
The disciples were alone in the storm for nine tempestuous hours. Long enough for more than one disciple to ask, "Where is Jesus? He knows we are in the boat. For heaven's sake, it was his idea. Is God anywhere near?"
And from within the storm comes an unmistakable voice: "Courage! I am! Don't be afraid!" (Matthew 14:27, literal translation).
From the center of the storm, the unwavering Jesus shouts, "I am." Tall in the Trade Tower wreckage. Bold against the Galilean waves. ICU, battlefield, boardroom, prison cell, or maternity ward—whatever your storm, "I am."
Christ comes astride the waves and declares the words engraved on every wise heart: "Courage! I am! Don't be afraid!"
From Fear Not Promise Book
Originally printed in Next Door Savior
FEARLESS Chapter 6:
"I'm Sinking Fast"
by Max Lucado
Before the flight I'm a midlife version of Tom Cruise in Top Gun: wearing an air force helmet, a flight suit, and a smile the size of a watermelon slice. After the flight Top Gun is undone. I'm as pale as bleached bone. I list to the side, and my big smile has flattened as straight as the tarmac on which we just landed. Chalk the change up to sixty minutes of acrobatics at ten thousand feet.
I occupied the cockpit seat directly behind Lt. Col. Tom McClain. One month shy of retirement he invited me to join him on an orientation flight. The invitation came complete with
• a preflight physical (in which I was measured for the ejection seat);
• a safety briefing (in which I practiced pulling the handle for the ejection seat);
• a few moments hanging in the harness of a training para- chute (simulating how I would return to earth after any activation of the ejection seat).
Message to air force public relations: any way to scale down the ejection-seat discussion? Turns out we didn't use it. No small accomplishment since we dived, rose, and dived again, sometimes with a vertical velocity of ten thousand feet per minute. Can you picture a roller coaster minus the rails? We flew in tandem with another T-6. At one point the two wingtips were separated by seven feet. I don't like to get that close to another person in the shopping mall.
Here's what one hour of aerial somersaults taught me:
• Fighter pilots are underpaid. I have no clue what their salary is, but it's not enough. Anyone willing to protect his country at 600 mph deserves a bonus.
• G's are well named. Funny, I thought the phrase "pulling g's" had to do with gravitational pull against your body. It actually describes the involuntary sound a minister emits during a 360-degree rollover: "G-G-G-Geee!"
• The call sign of the pilot is stenciled on the back of his helmet.
They have such great call signs: Iceman. Buff. Hatchet. Mine was Max. Pretty cool, huh? Col. McClain responds to T-Mac. It appears on the back of his helmet just above the collar line. I know this well. For fifty of the sixty minutes, I stared at his name. I read it forward, then backward, counted the letters, and created an acrostic: T-M-A-C. Tell Me About Christ. I couldn't stomach looking anywhere else. The horizon kept bouncing. So did the instrument panel. Closing my eyes only increased the nausea. So I stared at T-Mac. After all, he was the one with nearly six thousand hours of flight time!
Six thousand hours! He's spent more time flying planes than I've spent eating pizza, a thought that occurred to me as I began regretting my dinner from the night before. Six thousand hours! The equivalent of eight months' worth of twenty-four-hour days in the air, time enough to circumnavigate the globe 143 times. No wonder he was smiling when we boarded. This sortie was a bike ride on training wheels. I actually heard him humming during a near-vertical bank turn.
Didn't take me long to figure out where to stare. No more looking down or out. My eyes were on the pilot. If T-Mac was okay, I was okay. I know where to stare in turbulence.
Peter learned the same lesson the hard way...