Charles Plumb recounts his story as a jet fighter pilot during the war in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb safely ejected, parachuted and was eventually captured and thrown into a Vietnamese prison for six years.
Years later, Plumb and his wife were eating in a local restaurant when a man said to him, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You were shot down!”
Surprised, Plumb asked, “How in the world did you know that?” The man replied, “I’m the guy who packed your parachute.”
Later Plumb reflected on his experience. A stranger had spent long hours at a wooden table in the belly of an aircraft carrier, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute for someone he didn’t know. It was this man who had provided Plumb with what he needed to make it through a very difficult period of life.
Plumb’s story reminds me that all of us have people who, ‘pack our parachute!’ A person or stranger, who provided encouragement, affirmation and guidance to help us make it through some difficult or challenging period of life.
And here’s what’s really cool—the Bible is full of stories about men and women who packed the parachutes of God’s servants!
- Mordecai ‘packed the parachute’ of Esther—see Esther 2
- Barnabas ‘packed the parachute’ of John Mark—see Acts 15:36-41
- Paul ‘packed the parachute’ of Timothy—see 1 Timothy 4:11-16