Sunday night on The Discovery Channel, millions heard these phrases:
“Thank You, Jesus.”
“You’re my everything, Lord.”
“Thank You, Father, for this beautiful view.”
“Lord, You are my Strength and my Shield.”
“I praise You, Jesus.”
13 million watched, 2.9 million hit the web site Skywirelive.com, and 1.3 million tweeted. Afterwards, news feeds from all major media outlets aired and posted footage of a man saying these phrases with great conviction and authenticity. Was it a TV preacher? No. It was Nik Wallenda—the world’s most famous tightrope walker. A 7th generation high-wire artist from the famous Flying Wallenda family.
People tuned in to watch him attempt to walk across the Grand Canyon. And, as Jimmy Kimmel bluntly stated, many tuned in to see if he would fall, as it was streamed out live. Nik had no net or tether, only his balance pole. He walked four football field lengths on a wire over 15 stories up from the canyon floor.
The vast majority of those who tuned in, didn’t watch because Nik is a strong Christian. They tuned in to watch an amazing feat, a death-defying act, a stunt that could easily end in a fatal fall, something that had never been attempted before.
But as he first stepped out onto the cable, for over 22 minutes, if you were going to watch him walk, you had to listen to him talk—specifically to pray and worship. Sure, some may have muted the sound, but the amazement and fascination likely kept people listening.
Why couldn’t Nik just keep his faith to himself? Couldn’t he have just prayed silently and God would have still heard him? Why risk offending people or looking over-religious when you have the world watching?
When Nik Wallenda stepped out over nothing and put one foot in front of the other, he just did what he does every day. He was walking with Jesus. In that moment, it just happened to be over the Grand Canyon and in front of TV cameras. Nik isn’t ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and believes it is the power for all mankind to be saved. So, in that moment, he was true to himself and to His God. And, God answered every prayer as he stepped onto the other side of that canyon.
Today, it isn’t likely that you or I will attempt anything overtly death defying, but life too often feels like a tightrope walk nonetheless. People are dependent on us getting to the other side of where we’re walking right now. As we walk on our own “tightropes,” what do we say? What do we pray? What do people see and hear from us? And when we succeed and get to the other side, who gets the glory?
Let’s be inspired by Nik, and like him, if people are going to watch our walk, let’s let them hear our talk. And see Jesus.
Now stand up straight! Stop your knees from shaking and walk a straight path. —Hebrews 12:12-13a CEV