I was one of millions glued to the TV as Nick Wallenda prayed his way across the Grand Canyon years ago. For someone who has difficulty navigating a sidewalk (and freezes two feet off the ground if there is nothing to cling to), I cannot imagine how anyone could walk a tightrope hundreds of feet above terra firma. Or why one would want to in the first place. He is the 7th generation of the “Flying Wallendas,” and no doubt toddled his way across a wire as a two year old. The microphone he wore allowed us to listen to his father’s coaching and calm reassurance as he spoke softly into his son’s ear throughout the stunt. Clearly, Nick had been well trained and prepared.
From the moment he set foot on the wire, we heard Nick glorify God and his Son with praises, supplications, and adoration. He called on Jesus’ authority to calm the winds that were playing havoc with his lifeline, trusting in the same power that calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee. We heard him put his life in God’s hands with the kind of faith that moves mountains.
No doubt God expected Nick to do his part, using the brain and talent he gave him. Practice, practice, and more practice. Yet I wondered why would the God of the universe care about amazing stunts? Of all the things a person could do to make a difference in the world, I cannot think of anything less helpful than walking on a high wire from one point to another. He could be running a soup kitchen for the poor or serving as a missionary to a tribe on the top of a mountain if he liked high places that much. Yet God gave Nick this talent and placed him in the Wallenda clan.
Apparently, God hands out unique assignments to serve his purposes. Perhaps it is not about what we do, but what kind of faith we bring to what we do. Maybe the world needed to see and hear real faith in action – that “lay it all on the line for the Christ who captured my soul for all eternity” kind of faith.
That must be the kind of commitment Jesus meant when he spoke of the disciple who puts his hand to the tiller and does not look back, as being worthy of him. What would have happened to Wallenda’s walk across the Grand Canyon if he had glanced back, or down, or waivered?
I can’t develop or grow that kind of faith on my own. I can only pray for it, believing with all my heart that God will answer my prayer. What would my life look like if every step I took on my daily journey were rooted in that trusting, surrendering faith? What amazing things could God accomplish through me if I clung to his Son like Nick Wallenda did as he put it all on the wire?
When the disciples failed to cast out a demon, they asked Jesus why. He replied, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20 NKJV)