ost people travel from the United States to Canada by a road or bridge. On June 15, 2012, aerialist Nik Wallenda, of the famed Flying Wallenda family, made a dramatic tightrope crossing over Niagara Falls in the dark of night; the first of its kind.
Millions of people around the world marveled as the 33-year-old Wallenda walked 1,800 feet on a two-inch cable in a televised event. All the way across the raging water he prayed to God in heaven and talked to his biological father, who coached him from a distance.*
Unlike others who have traversed Niagara, Wallenda was the first to walk directly over the treacherous waters and rocks of the actual falls. It took him slightly more than 25 minutes.
Arriving on the Canadian side of the falls amid the cheers of crowds, Wallenda hugged his family and called his grandmother to assure her he was all right. In a subsequent press conference Wallenda was asked why he did the dangerous feat. What was his motivation?
“Faith plays a huge role in what I do,” he said. “I believe that God has opened many doors for me in my life, and this is one of them.” Then he wryly added, “Praise God here I am in one piece.” Asked what he wanted to accomplish, he replied, “I did it to inspire people around the world that the impossible is not so impossible if you set your mind to it and reach for your goals.”
When we think about our lives and personal trials in light of Wallenda’s crossing, the lessons become obvious. From the perspective of a believer, we are reminded of what God said when speaking through Isaiah: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (Isa. 43:2). The challenge is how we can partner with God in being successful in keeping balance in life.
The following lessons will help us as we go through the trials of life.
Wallenda, like all great aerialists, depends on his essential skill to maintain balance. Likewise, the foundational support of Christians is their ability to maintain the balance of a life characterized by consistent connection with God, buttressed by healthful habits and unselfish love for others.
Throughout the walk Wallenda repeated Bible principles and faith promises that kept his confidence strong in God. During this dangerous walk he was heard saying, “Thank You, Jesus,” and “Praise You, Father.” Additionally, he remained in phone contact with his dad at a remote location, who could see and coach Nik’s advance from multiple angles. The strength of a believer is the ability to bring to mind Bible promises and stay in constant contact with God through prayer.
The aerialist’s success secrets are the courage to initiate action, to move from dream to action, focusing on the end goal, and visualizing strengths versus potential weaknesses. Christians also need to be hearers and doers of the Word, depend on a trustworthy God, watch where they are going, and remind themselves that their country is a heavenly one.
In 1978 Karl Wallenda, Nik’s great-grandfather, died while crossing a tightrope between two buildings in Puerto Rico. With that in mind, to prepare for the Niagara crossing Nik triumphantly repeated the Puerto Rico walk with his mother. In honor of his family and God, he purposed to exhibit a victor’s persona. Christians, also, have a proud heritage of those who died in full confidence of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
Nik Wallenda is now preparing for a tightrope walk over Arizona’s Grand Canyon, roughly three times longer than the one over Niagara Falls. “I just happen to have a permit,” he said during an interview on ABC.
What is your next move of faith for God? Can He depend on you to maintain your balance in life?
* Sources: Danny Hakim and Liz Leyden, “Daredevil Takes a Successful Walk Across a Popular Void,” New York Times, June 15, 2012, nytimes.com; Rick Hampson, “Daredevil Nik Wallenda Crosses Niagara Falls on Tightrope,” USA Today, June 16, 2012, usatoday.com.
Delbert W. Baker is a general vice president of the General Conference. This article was published February 28, 2013.