How to Tight-Rope Walk Niagara Falls

There really wasn’t anything else on TV.  The NBA finals were taking the night off, and I can’t stand watching baseball on TV.  So I decided I wanted to see what all the hype about the guy trying to tight-rope walk across Niagara Falls was all about.  Boy, am I glad I did.

If you didn’t see it, you should have.  Imagine seeing a guy walk on a wire the length of six football fields over the world’s most impressive waterfall, while the wire is swaying back and forth a foot or two at a time.  Nik Wallenda is being pelted by wind and mist and, at times, he can’t even see the wire.

Oh, and did I mention that his great-grandfather died walking a wire on national TV?

That’s right.  Karl Wallenda was attempting to cross between two towers of the ten-story Colorado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico when the high winds and some faulty guide ropes caused the wire to swing violently, resulting in Karl falling over 120 feet to his death.  He was the fifth Wallenda to die performing such a stunt.

I’ve got to tell you, I wondered if I was about to witness the sixth.  It was hard to watch at times.  I was ready to turn it off or change the channel when something unexpected caught my attention.

From the TV, I heard, “Thank you, Jesus.”

Nik was mic’d up as he performed this insane feat.  And the whole time he was walking across the falls, he was praying.  But he wasn’t asking God to keep him safe, or to stop the wind and the mist, or for the wire to be stilled.  He was thanking God for letting him have this amazing opportunity.  He thanked God for letting him be the first person in history to see the falls from that vantage point.

He thanked God for everything going on around him.

I promise you I’m never going to tight-rope walk anything.  Asking me to climb onto my roof is about where it stops for me.  Still–most of the time–I feel like I’m trying to walk across Niagara Falls without a net.  But I’m not like Nik.  Not even close.  Oh, I pray all the time.  I’m constantly talking to God.  But I tend to whine and complain and ask Him to take away my problems.  For me, the storm isn’t something to thank God for; it’s something to complain to Him about.

We shouldn’t be surprised when life is hard; Jesus promised us it would be.

In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. – John 16:33b

So how do we navigate across this perilous chasm?

Maybe we should be more like Nik.  You see, Nik was in this position by choice.  He wanted to be right there, standing 200 feet above death.  He wanted to show the world that it could be done.  He never doubted that he would make it across.  So he spent the entire time praising God for every step of the journey.  He trusted that God was going to get him through, so why not enjoy and thank him for every second of it?

I wonder what my life would be like if I did the same thing.  Rather than asking God to take away my problems, what if I simply trusted that He would get me through.  What if I thanked God for giving me a perspective on life that no other human being who ever lived has seen?  What if I saw the struggles and challenges of life, as a gift from God?

Thanks, Nik.  You’ve taught me how to cross Niagara Falls without a net.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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