Stuck on Devil’s Tower
. . . I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.
On October 1, 1941 parachutist George Hopkins did something incredibly stupid. He parachuted onto the top of Wyoming’s Devil’s Tower.
Recently while visiting this impressive national monument, I read about Hopkin’s stunt. He did it to get attention and got much more than he had bargained for! His Plan A went fine. He guided his parachute down onto the semi-flat rocky top of the Tower, which is about the size of two football fields.
But Plan B went awry when the same plane that he jumped from failed to properly drop the long rope and climbing stakes he planned to use in descending down the 865 foot high volcanic plug.
Now, George Hopkins was stranded atop Devil’s Tower. For the next week, Americans followed this saga of the stranded parachutist. Finally, after six days a group of experienced climbers ascended the mountain and brought poor George down
This story from Devil’s Tower is a good example of starting good but not having a rehearsed plan to finish well. This is true in our lives as well. Steve Farrar’s excellent book, Finishing Strong addresses this subject. I would encourage every man to read it. (Wives, buy it for your husbands. They’ll tell you thank you later.)
The story of being stuck atop Devil’s Tower also has another spiritual application:
When we land atop sin in our lives, it is a lot easier and fun (even the Bible speaks of the temporary “pleasure of sin for a season” in Hebrews 11:25) landing on it than it is to get off. An old adage speaks of this:
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go.
Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay,
and sin will cost you way more than you want to pay.”
Yes, on Devil’s Tower is not a good place to land. Although the journey there looks great, once you arrive it is barren, rock, waterless, and unmercifully hot.
And it’s a whole lot harder to get off Devil’s Tower than to get on it.
Be careful what you jump for. It’s not always easy to get off!
Don’t believe me? Just ask an old daredevil named George Hopkins.
P.S. If you are ever in the Black Hills of South Dakota or northeastern Wyoming, visit Devil’s Tower. It is very impressive and awe-inspiring. The fact that it sits majestically alone in a wide flat river valley makes it something to stand beside. There is a two mile trail that winds its way all around the base.