A lot of people were tuned into the Discovery Channel on Sunday evening to watch Nik Wallenda attempt to cross the Grand Canyon on a 2-inch high wire. He traversed about a quarter of a mile 1,500 feet above the canyon floor. He did this without a net or a harness.
Nik is part of the famed daredevil family, the “Flying Wallendas.” For seven generations this family has performed death-defying feats to the amazement of the crowds who watch. They have not always turned out well. In 1978, Nik’s great-grandfather Karl fell to his death from a high-wire in Puerto Rico. It is a risky business to say the least.
For those watching Nik’s incredible walk, they heard him praying before and during the walk. He prayed for calm winds as he stepped onto the wire. Since he was wearing a microphone, his words were captured. The L.A. Times printed a portion of his words as he spoke to himself, to those listening, and mostly to the Lord. “These feel slippery, there’s dust on the cable… Thank you Jesus, for this beautiful view. … Praise you, Jesus. Oh, I love you. Thank you, Jesus. … Lord, help this cable calm down. … Yes, Jesus. Oh, you’re my savior. Yes, Jesus. Yes, Jesus. … God, you’re so good. Thank you for this opportunity, Lord. … Lord, help me to relax, Father. … Help me to calm down, and relax. You are my king. Help me to relax, Lord. … Yes, Lord. Relaxed. Oh, Lord, peace. … I don’t want to talk to anyone, Dad. The winds are way worse than I expected. … I need to relax more. Hard to relax when you’re 1,500 feet above the canyon. … Thank you, Jesus. … What happens is an optical illusion, and it freaks you out. Not fun.”
Wallenda’s Grand Canyon walk was indeed incredible. His emphasis on prayer and trust in the Lord was inspiring to millions who consider themselves to be followers of Jesus. It is obvious that this family has been gifted with an unusual ability, and I am very glad that he has chosen to honor the Lord with that gift. That being said, however, that stunt was NUTS!
I’m not sure that God called Nik Wallenda to step out on that high wire over the Grand Canyon, but there are times when God causes us to do something that can seem nuts. He doesn’t always lead us in the easiest way nor even the safest way, but He’s always with us. Our task is to focus on Him, to listen Him, in short, to abide in Him. If God has called us to it, He will lead us through it.
How do we learn to cling to God in the hard times? We do so by learning to cling to Him every day. You see, we don’t just need God when we are 1,500 up in the air on a 2-inch cable with the winds whipping by; we need got each and every moment of each and every day. You learn by trusting Him at ground level when the winds are calm and the danger seems far away. From what I have learned about Nik Wallenda, his prayers are not just “SOS” prayers offered in times of fear and danger – nor should ours be. Learning to trust God daily on the days when the sun is shining and the grass is green, and you’ll build your faith to trust Him fully when the skies are dark and the way is hard.