If you had never heard of Nik Wallenda before, chances are pretty good you know who he is now – especially after last Friday night’s daring stunt, during which he walked across a two-inch cable strung across Niagara Falls.
The cable, stretched from Niagara Falls, New York to Niagara Falls, Ontario – a distance of about 400 metres. The insurance requirements of the ABC television network in the United States, which televised the event for the Americans, insisted that Wallenda have a harness tethered to the wire, so that if he were to have slipped, he would not have plunged to his death in the swirling waters below.
As it turned out, though, he didn’t need it. He made the journey look like a walk in the park.
I wasn’t able to watch the spectacle because of another commitment, but my wife was riveted to the television for the walk. And several things struck her, which are worth sharing.
First, while he was being ‘coached’ through the event by wireless communication throughout the walk by his dad, Wallenda spent the entire trip in conversation with his heavenly Father. While some may think he was a bit wacky, anyone who knows much about the performer understands that his faith is a significant part of his life. His trust in the Lord is key to his motivation, and his success as a stunt artist.
Second, Diana noticed what Wallenda did in the middle of his walk. The cable strung across the gorge was not taut; it had a bit of bow in it, in order to face the winds that invariably blow through the Niagara gorge and have physics in his favour. At the bottom of the bow, Wallenda stopped and gave thanks to God for the view he had from that point.
Diana was quick to draw an analogy, and a lesson. How often, when we find ourselves at a low point in life, do we stop to give thanks to God for the view?
Usually, when we find ourselves in the proverbial valley, we’re not quick to look up to God and give thanks. But that can be a good discipline, for we almost never find anything good about looking down in the valley, or looking around. Why not look up, and be thankful for the view, and that the trip out of the valley, leading to better things, is ahead?
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me” (Psalm 23.4a, NLT).