A golden parachute typically refers to the generous severance package provided to CEOs or other top-level executives when they leave a company, at the request of that company, to cushion the “fall” as they transition to new employment. It may seem redundant to many who are not such high income earners, as the golden parachute is often many times greater than the employee’s yearly salary; that salary far exceeds usual wages; and most such executives have an ample nest egg from which to draw living expenses for quite some time.
Such a golden parachute is really more of a luxury than a life saver. That was not the case for the silver parachutes in the Hunger Games book and film series, portraying a dystopic society in which teens were forced to battle one another to the death, until only one was left and declared the winner. These "games" were widely broadcast, and sponsors could send their favorite warrior a silver parachute, which literally floated down from the sky, bearing a lifesaving gift such as medicine to treat a deadly wound, or food when it was unsafe for the warrior to leave shelter.
It reminds me of the many precious parachutes we receive from God, sometimes even daily, once we are saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). Sometimes these actually descend from the heavens, as in the case of manna God provided to feed the Israelites as they wandered through the Promised Land (Exodus 16:4). God gave them exactly what they needed when they needed it.
Manna appeared on the ground for them to gather every morning, enough for each person to meet their daily need, except for the Sabbath. So that they would not have to dishonor God’s day of rest by working (Exodus 20:8), God provided and allowed them to gather twice as much the day before, and it was still perfectly fresh on the Sabbath. But if they attempted to store manna on any other day, it would spoil and be foul with worms in the morning (Exodus 16:5; 14-28). What a great reminder not to hoard God’s blessings (Luke 12:16-21), but to use them in accordance with His perfect plan!
Another example is the prophet Elijah, soon to be used by God in spiritual warfare (and victory!) over the pagan prophets of Baal. During the preceding drought, God guided Elijah to drink from the brook Cherith, and nourished him from a most unlikely source, also descending from on high like ebony parachutes! Ravens, known for their greed and mean-spiritedness, brought him his daily bread and meat, most likely carried in their beaks or talons! (1 Kings 17:1-7)
But such examples are not limited to Scripture. No doubt all born-again Christians (John 3:3-8) can think of times God sent them exactly what they needed, at the very moment they needed it! The youth pastor at a church we once attended gave a testimony of having committed to tithe $20 every Wednesday, when he was first starting out and had very limited funds.
One Wednesday evening he just didn’t have any extra cash in his wallet, cookie jar, or ATM, and he was ashamed at having to go to the weekly prayer meeting empty handed. But he knew it was God’s will for him to go to church, so he reluctantly drove there. To his amazement, as he opened the car door, a $20 bill fluttered to the ground near his feet, and he knew God had provided the means for him to honor his tithing commitment!
But sometimes God’s precious parachutes are not lifesaving, or even necessary for us to carry out His will, but just an unexpected blessing, perfectly timed to lift our spirits to heavenly places when we most yearn for encouragement. These are like love letters from our Savior, tender reminders of His constant faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23), and are no less appreciated. These could be as simple yet beautiful as a rainbow piercing a cloudy sky (Genesis 9:12-17), a vibrant bloom pushing up through a crack in the sidewalk, or a soothing bird song chiming in as we pray out loud.
At one time I went through a particularly challenging legal battle, and received especially bad news one day regarding this struggle. Although I was despondent, my spirits lifted when I received an unexpected letter of encouragement in the mail from a dear sister in Christ. She had no idea what I was going through, yet God had laid it on her heart to reach out to me with this note. She had actually written it ten days before she sent it, and waited for the Spirit’s gentle nudge to mail it so that I would receive it exactly when He knew I would need it the most.
On another occasion my husband and I were entered in a dance competition and show in which we would be dancing to a Gospel song with a strong resurrection message. Ordinarily we looked forward to such opportunities and our mood was usually one of excitement and anticipation (sometimes with a few nerves thrown in), and as the time to dance approached, our focus and resolve would intensify.
Yet my mental state was totally different for this competition. For the first time, my spirit was bound in such heaviness, gloom and dread that I felt physically unable to dance. We were backstage in rehearsal, a few hours before we were scheduled to perform, and I told my husband that I didn’t think I could do it. He said he understood, that we were not obligated to continue, and that he would respect whatever decision I made, but that we should pray about it and be open to God’s leading..
Just then his phone rang. It was a missionary brother we had not spoken with for quite some time. He explained that God had laid it on his heart to call us, as he sensed we were going through spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). He prayed with us, for God to strengthen and uplift us (Isaiah 41:10), and to enable us to fulfill the mission He had set before us.
I felt as though a great burden had lifted from my chest – perhaps borne aloft by a God-sent parachute? We went on to dance better than we had ever danced in our lives, to a packed-out theatre, delivering the Gospel message through dance and song to a largely unsaved audience, fulfilling the unique opportunity God had given us to spread His Word. Only by the grace of God and to His glory!
That precious parachute not only helped us sail through that spiritual battle, but stays with us as a memory of God’s faithfulness (1 Samuel 7:12), uplifting us when we grow weary or discouraged, and strengthening us to continue His work as we wait upon the Lord for His perfect will and timing. Sometimes God’s parachutes are like the wings of eagles! (Isaiah 40:31).
A parachute can save your life, if you’re jumping from a plane, or re-entering earth’s atmosphere, as in the photo above. But only if you have a genuine chute, pack it properly, and wear it! Faith saves us from eternity in hell (Ephesians 2:8-9), but only if we accept the freely given gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23) through true faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. May we thank God daily for the precious parachutes He provides, and may we follow His leading to be the parachute others need, when they need it most!
© 2022 Laurie Collett