Just a couple of weeks ago we were given the opportunity to see something that has never happened before - a man walked across the Niagara Falls on a high-wire, and not the small falls that our American friends have, but the large beautiful Horseshoe falls in Canada.
I have visited this natural wonder of the world a few times. And if you have not seen the falls in person then there are few words (especially from an engineering mind) that can describe the awesome power that is on display there. Seeing the volume of water racing over the falls (600,000 gallons/second) is just amazing. And keep in mind, the flow of water is only a fraction of what it is supposed to be due to hydro-electric dams upstream and the fear of erosion.
On Friday June 16, an American named Nik Wallenda was given permission to walk across the falls, some two hundred feet above the raging sea below. His movement on the wire seemed effortless, but in reality the entire time he was battling swirling wind gusts, mists comparable to a rainstorm, a wire that swayed in every which direction and the knowledge that the world was watching to see if he would fall. And he did this with, what would appear as his only aid, a 40 pound balance bar.
I was struck when he first walked over the edge of the falls as the television cameras zoomed out to see this very little man with the fierce falls pouring under him. He looked like a little GI Joe figurine dangling on a wire over a huge river. But as incredible as the apparent ease of his crossing was (he made it look so easy that Wiarda began reliving her dreams of becoming a tightrope walker) the greatest moment of the night came earlier in the evening, about 30 minutes before he got up on the wire.
As Nik Wallenda was about to get up onto the wire, a reporter asked him how he could be so calm and relaxed before he performed something that was so dangerous, and clearly insane to most people, that it had been outlawed over 100 years ago. Without missing a beat Nik, a believer in Christ, replied, "Because I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus." (2 Corinthians 5:21)
It would appear that Nik understands that he has nothing to fear, even death, because Jesus loves and accepts him. So why would anything, even walking across a wire only three pennies wide hundreds of feet in the air cause him to lose his peace. In that one sentence Nik Wallenda preached a great sermon, when you are loved by Jesus there is nothing else you need.
It was this same understanding that motivated the apostles and other followers of Christ to face the many trials of this world. Look how Paul puts it in the crescendo of Romans chapter 8.
"If God is for us, who is against us? ...Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies...Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
If you are a follower of Christ, then you too are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. And so you and I can now rest in the knowledge that the God of this universe loves us completely, perfectly and unconditionally, just as we are on our worst day.
With assurance and confidence like that, maybe I should revisit my dream of becoming a lion tamer. In Christ who is our Life,
In Christ who is our Life,