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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Do You Have The Courage?

Last night I watched one of the most courageous, hair-raising, death-defying stunts ever undertaken. Nik Wallenda walked his way on a tightrope over the Niagara Falls from the USA to Canada, in weather conditions that were less than perfect. Maybe you watched it too. What were your thoughts? Did you fear for his life? Did you think he was foolhardy to attempt such a feat? To put his wife and children through the anguish of wondering if he would make it alive?

Those and other thoughts must have run through your mind and the minds of the hundreds of thousands who viewed this history-making event. As this daring young man made his way on that wet, shaky rope, I was reminded of the story of Peter walking on the water. Peter was doing okay - until he looked down. Still, we commend him for having the courage to jump out of that boat on a dark and stormy night.

Most of us may never attempt anything close to what Nik Wallenda did last night, but maybe you are walking the tightrope of life and you feel like any moment you might fall off. The mist of uncertainty thickens around you so you can't see what lies ahead; the winds of adversity buffet you from all sides and you cannot trust the rope beneath your feet. We can all learn some lessons from Nik.

1. Trust God. Nik and his family prayed together before he climbed on to that rope, and while he was walking we could hear him saying, "Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Lord. I praise you, Father." As I prayed along with him, I felt assured that he would make it. Not only did he put his trust in God, but he acknowledged Him publicly. It is important to let others know where your confidence lies.

2. Garner support. Nik comes from a long line of daredevils, dating back to the 1700s. Only three Wallendas lost their lives during stunts, the latest being Nik's great-grandfather in 1978. Nik's family was behind him all the way, although Nik's eleven-year-old son caved in at the last moment as he listened to the media talk about the possible dangers. However, Nik's father, a retired wire-walker, spoke with Nik through a microphone for most of the walk, giving gentle reassurance and tips. Nik's uncle, an engineer, who worked on the wire was also present, as well as a host of government officials. When you are on a tightrope, it helps to have the support of your family, friends, your church and maybe even some community agencies. You cannot do it alone.

3. Don't give up. This was Nik's advice to the world once he'd landed safely on Canadian soil. He said that we should follow our dreams, despite the challenges that confront us. And again, he urged us to trust God to give us the courage and strength to fulfill those dreams. At one point when Nik's father asked him how he was doing, he replied, "My hands are getting numb and my feet feel weak," but like the apostle Paul, Nik kept his eyes on the prize.

4. Give God the glory. After we have got off the tightrope, some of us forget where we've been. But let's remember we couldn't do it without Him. Nik dropped to his knees just a few feet from the tower and blew a kiss to the crowd, then once he'd cleared immigration (yes, he had to do that!) Nik attributed his stunning success to God. He again urged viewers to trust God to provide whatever we need.
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