On Sunday, June 23, 2013, Nik Wallenda walked across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. Actually, it was a metal cable, a mere 2 inches in diameter, stretched 1400 feet from side to side, and 1500 feet above the canyon floor. He used no net and no safety harness! He made it across in just under 23 minutes. It was broadcast live around the world by the Discovery Channel.
Can you imagine! Remember, this cable is not 2 inches wide, it is 2 inches in diameter. No way could I even balance myself on such a cable, let alone walk on it. How do you stand on a wire? Then, to factor in the strong wind rising from the canyon, the extremely long cable swaying and vibrating, and the risk of falling! Wow! It's crazy.
Why would someone do this? Here's how Nik explains it, "My family has done this for seven generations and 200 years, and I'm carrying on a legacy. This is something I've done since I was 2 years old, and it truly is my passion." Now that starts to make sense to me. It's about family, tradition, and mainly, passion. Crazy as far as I'm concerned, but that's who he is - a Wallenda - brought up and groomed to do such things. The 34 year old is a member of the famous "Flying Wallendas" - a family of high wire acrobats. He started tight rope walking when he was 2. He is highly skilled, highly trained, highly experienced, and extremely qualified.
Some call him a daredevil. But from what I'm gathering, although he surely is daring, he is far from a devil. Rather, Nik is strong in his Christian faith. And my take away is that this whole tight wire walk across the Grand Canyon actually glorified God. Why do I say that? Because, thanks to a live microphone that was attached to him, we could hear him praying the entire way across the canyon. It glorified God because of his acknowledgement of God, of Jesus, of creation, of his trust, of his peace. He relied on God to help him. It's obvious that Nik Wallenda is someone who strongly believes in God, and is not afraid to publicly proclaim it. And it's refreshing and inspiring.
Below is a sampling of his actual remarks as he made his long and dangerous walk:
"Thank You Jesus"
"Praise You Jesus"
"Lord, help this cable to calm down."
"Praise You God"
"How I love you, Jesus"
"You're my King, my Savior, You're my Protector, my Shield, my Strength"
"Yes Jesus, yes Jesus, yes Jesus"
"God, You're so good, calm those winds in the name of Jesus"
"Help me to relax Lord, help me to calm down and relax"
"The enemy has no hold on me"
"The peace that passes all understanding"
"Lord, shine Glory upon Your name somehow Lord"
"Lord, I give You the Glory on this"
"Lord, give me strength"
"Go away in the name of Jesus" (as he is squatting down, trying to calm vibrations in the cable)
"Thank you Lord, Thank you for calming that cable, Lord"
"God, calm those winds. You have authority over that, Lord. You have authority over that."
"In Jesus' name"
"You are the King of Kings"
"Thank you for this beautiful creation that You made"
"Lord, You are my everything"
"You are my all in all, my peace, my strength, my wisdom, my guidance"
"Glory to Your name"
Did Nik Wallenda believe that God would prevent him from falling? Not necessarily. He knew that was a possibility. Several family members died falling off the high wire, including his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, who died from a fall in 1978. It seemed, though, that with almost each inch he moved, he thanked the Lord for a successful step. I like that.
There's no doubt that his faith is real and sincere. "Faith plays a huge role in what I do," Wallenda said. "I believe God has opened many doors for me in my life and this is one of them. To inspire people around the World, let them know the impossible is not so impossible if you set your mind to it."
Some skeptics ask, if he fell to his death, what would he think of God then? Well, with someone who has such strong faith, Nik Wallenda would most likely say that his time was up, and that he is in a good place - in the presence of the Lord, the one he loves. "That's really where I get my peace," he said. "I have confidence that if something were to happen to me, I know where I'm going."
So, believe what you may about this man. As for me, I think his example of unashamed belief in God, his strong conviction and his public acknowledgement of his faith, is a lesson for all of us.