Growing up, kids in my generation knew of Niagara Falls as a honeymoon destination! As a young girl, I daydreamed about this trip with my new husband. He would serenade me on our hotel balcony as I sipped a piῆa colada out of a coconut (“husband” was either Shaun Cassidy from “The Partridge Family” OR Davey Jones from the Monkees…either way: cute artistic dude. I trusted the Lord knew the best fit.)
Niagara Falls, it turns out, was the site of a feat slightly more spectacular than a shy, Asian child of immigrants being swept off her feet by a feather-haired superstar. In 1859, a French acrobat named Charles Blondin became the first man to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope with NO net beneath him! He walked 1,100 feet across and 160 feet above the roaring waterfall that spanned from America to Canada [who cares how many football fields that equals?! That’s just plain F.A.R.!] Twenty five thousand people came from everywhere to wriggle, watch and woohoo! as the daredevil successfully crossed the first time. After that, to dispel disbelief and accusations of being a hoax, The Great Blondin kept crossing, each time upping the ante. He reportedly crossed Niagara Falls at times fancy-footing, flipping, blindfolded, at night with only locomotive lamps on either end to guide him. He was bound in shackles once and walked on stilts another time. Blondin even carried a wooden chair, a stove and utensils to the center, sat down, cooked an omelet, and enjoyed it! He eventually crossed the Falls three HUNDRED times!
(Back to the present, 2016, a question: do you think he could win, “America’s Got Talent”?! At least get a nod from Simon Cowell, right?)
One time Blondin pushed a wheelbarrow across with 350 pounds of cement inside. After, he asked the spectators if they thought he could push the wheelbarrow across with a man sitting inside of it. As the crowd cheered, he asked a man nearby, “Sir, do you believe I can cross pushing this wheelbarrow with you sitting in it?” Based on Blondin’s exceptional reputation, plus the fact that this man just saw Blondin do that exact thing with more weight in the wheelbarrow than a man weighed … the man undoubtedly said, “YES!” He believed! Blondin invited the man to get into the wheelbarrow. The man abruptly rejected the invitation. NO WAY was he getting into that rusty death bucket!
Isn’t this the difference between belief and trust? Everyone in those years saw and believed that Blondin could cross the great watery divide between America and Canada. He had done it hundreds of times, and it was well documented by eyewitnesses, photographs, and news articles. But when Blondin asked a man if he would get into the wheelbarrow and be pushed across on what suddenly must’ve looked like dental floss strung sixteen stories above a watery grave he did not trust Blondin enough.
A pastor reminded me this weekend that belief is one thing. Trust is different because it costs us. It costs us our pride, our own way, the status quo, our safety net.
Trust is a verb that moves, acts, and takes a step to live out that belief.
Most of the world believes in God. Many people generously profess their belief through public prayers, declarations of faith, alliances with others who profess the same belief, and so forth.
But how far will that take us when we, ourselves, are challenged with a “great divide” between what we see and experience in the world and what the Lord wants us to emulate:
a dream………………………………….its reality
division………………………….………….forgiveness & unity
a prophetic word…………………………….its prophetic act?
The Bible tells us in James 2 that “even demons” believe in God. They know he is who he says he is. They have seen Jesus shut their kind up and toss them out with a look, a gesture, a word. Sure, demons believe in God, but they do not trust him. If they did, they’d be unemployed.
Those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and King probably remember the time before when we consented in our minds and perhaps even felt Jesus love and heal others, ourselves in tangible ways; we believed he was a Good God who does care. Nevertheless, it was an entirely Other, Monumental, I-don’t-know-if-I-can-do-this thing to trust Jesus and get in that wheelbarrow!
Is there a time in your life when Jesus has asked you to walk out your belief and get into that wheelbarrow as he pushed?
Some of you are thinking, “Wait! At times, I, myself, was asked to push a wheelbarrow—with precious cargo in it—cross a long line!”
Since Jesus told us in John 14 that we would do “greater things” than he did during his time on earth, why not ask us to do both? Hasn’t he shown us how to trust in him whether we are getting into the wheelbarrow or pushing it across in his name?
In any case, if and when you took that step, what was the outcome? Will you share it with someone who can be motivated by your story to make trust a verb!
Is the Father asking you to get up from the spectator stand and get in or push forward, together, today? Is there someone or something God is asking you to place willfully and trustingly into the wheelbarrow? (e.g. your college-bound child, a tenuous work situation, a ministry innovation, a regret, a debt, an aging parent, a spiritual or artistic gift, a need for reconciliation, health issues, a desired relationship)?
If so, the Body of Christ is here to partner with you! The members of Lifestreams are here to co-labor with you! Will you share this next move with another who also believes, so we can encourage each other to actively trust “from glory to glory”?
“The Lord is my strength and my [impenetrable] shield;
My heart trusts [with unwavering confidence] in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I shall thank Him and praise Him.” ~Psalm 28:7
See you as we cross the line!
~Ella deCastro Baron