Last Sunday night, I teetered on the edge of my seat in front of the TV as two seventh-generation members of the Flying Wallendas successfully traversed a 1,300-foot tightrope strung 25 stories above Times Square. While harnessed to a wire above them, they had eschewed a net. It took Nik and his sister, Lijana, 37 minutes to walk across the 3/4-inch-thick wire from opposite directions. They met in the middle, and Nik climbed over Lijana, who patiently straddled the wire, before continuing to the ends. My heart leaped into my throat when she rose to her feet and wobbled.
Three parts of this story resonate with me. First, the siblings are Christian. As they inched across the wire with millions of eyes watching and ears listening to their mic’d conversation, they quoted scripture, prayed, sang praise songs and encouraged each other. Their confidence in God’s protection amazed and motivated me. Not only were they brave enough to attempt this feat, but they also were unafraid to give God the glory for their achievement. What courageous witnesses! I have to admit I cried at the end when they hugged in victory.
Second, in 2017, Lijana fell off a tightrope 30 feet above the ground as she rehearsed an eight-person pyramid with other family members. She sustained severe injuries to her face. If that had happened to me, I’d never go anywhere near a tightrope again. But she did. She publicly called on God, swallowed her fear and strode across a thin wire with massive LED signs flashing in her eyes, wind pushing against her, sirens blaring and people cheering. The girl has guts.
And third, they had to prepare for that death-defying walk. They couldn’t have gotten on that wire if they’d been overweight, out of shape and unfit psychologically. They worked hard to get to the point where they could ask God to keep them safe. They collaborated with others in the industry, strategized, researched equipment, interviewed and hired experienced assistants, rehearsed, and rehearsed and rehearsed.
I pondered this last point Sunday night as the two celebrated their achievement. A triumphant walk across a tightrope is similar to conquering most any challenge. You must do everything in your power to be successful before asking God for favor,
For instance, writers can spend years preparing a manuscript for publication. We attend classes and conferences. We join critique groups. We labor over every word. Then, we edit and rewrite. At the same time, we balance our personal lives. During this entire process, we pray for guidance. And then, when we finally feel confident in our work, we ask God to match us with the right publisher.
It’s all a matter of trust in God’s great plan. When was the last time you leaned on the Lord and he came through in a mighty way?