I recently watched Nick Wallenda walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Beyond the amazing spectacle of the feat, it held a special significance to me as I used to live only ten minutes away from where he walked across. I’ve seen the enormity of the rocks and heard the thunderous crash of the waters first hand. Having ridden a boat that carried me to the base of the falls, I am fully aware of the amount of mist he had to deal with during his crossing. All these things made the breathtaking event that much more intense and incredible to watch. Beyond all of this, I was struck by Nick’s faith and began thinking how life is essentially a tightrope. It is perilous as we walk along the narrow way; we face constant trials that threaten to knock us off balance and perhaps even push us to our death. Watching Nick Wallenda traverse the mighty falls, however, I noticed three key principles he followed that allowed him to accomplish his mission. We can apply these same principles to our walk with Jesus.
- Stay in constant contact with your Father. Nick had a microphone and an earpiece that allowed him to stay in touch with his father throughout his journey. His dad was in a place where he could monitor all the various things that could derail his child from achieving his goal. He monitored the wind and the condition of the tightrope; he was able to watch Nick’s progress from a multitude of angles, and spoke reassuring words to him while warning of upcoming dangers. Nick listened to his father’s advice, and the result was a safe journey home.
- Alter your pace. One of the fascinating things I learned was that a tightrope walker needs to consistently modify their pace. If they keep the same cadence for too long, the rope beneath them begins to sway. By altering the length and speed of their stride, they can keep the rope steady so as to not lose their balance. We face the same danger in our own lives; if we allow ourselves to keep walking at the same pace, we’ll get into a rut and lose our bearings. Sometimes we need to slow down and listen more intently to God. Other times we may need to speed up in order to seize the opportunity before us. Never changing our stride means we will never stretch or grow. It’s important to mix it up along the way.
- Focus on where you put your feet. As followers of Christ, it is imperative to watch our steps. Are we putting our feet in the footprints of Jesus? Nick Wallenda said he’s always looking down to see where his next step will be. What a great example for us. If we don’t pay attention to where we are walking, we could easily slip and lose our way. Each and every step is important; it’s not just making certain you are on the right path, it’s also about the next place you put your foot. As we focus on walking as Jesus walked, we will find that each step brings us ever closer to our goal. We must never lose focus, regardless of all that swirls around us. Don’t look into the storms, but rather concentrate on the next step you will take.
Throughout his entire walk, Nick could be heard saying things like, “Thank You Jesus” and “Praise You Father”. This is a bonus lesson we can learn. Never forget to be thankful and to give praise to our Creator and our Lord. We may never walk across Niagara Falls, but our journey is no less perilous. Without Christ we can do nothing; with Him by our side, we can walk the tightrope of life over every chasm and through every storm.