There is a story about a guy who accidentally drives his car over the edge of a cliff. As the car is falling to its destruction he manages to open the door, leap out, and cling to a rocky ledge, watching his car burst into flames as it crashes to earth below. Barely hanging on, slipping and slowly losing his grip, he cries out to God, “Help! Save me!” His cries are muffled by a loud, clear voice, “Let go and I’ll catch you!” He can’t believe it! The last thing he wants to do is let go and experience the same fate as his car. He keeps crying, and keeps hearing God’s voice, “Let go, and I’ll catch you!” The man then cries out, “Is there anyone else up there?”
“Letting go and letting God.” Easy to say, difficult to do. It reminds me of another story that helped take me to the next level in what it means to walk the talk, practice what I preach and live out my faith in a greater way each day.
A world-class tightrope walker announces that he’s going to stretch a steel cable from the American to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and walk across it. Thousands of people gather at the Falls. The acrobat, mounting the cable, yells out to the crowd, “How many of you believe I can walk across and back safely?” They all yell out, “We believe you can do it! We have faith in you!”
The tightrope walker goes across and comes back safely. The crowd cheers wildly. He does the same, pushing a wheelbarrow across and back, with the mist rising up perilously, as the crowd roars more loudly in approval. Then he yells to the crowd, “I want to walk across again pushing and balancing this wheelbarrow! You all believe I can do it! You all have faith in me that I can accomplish this great feat, but I have a more important question for all of you. Which one of you is going to be the first to get into the wheelbarrow?”
It’s easy to talk the talk, but not so easy to walk the talk. It’s easy to say it, but we are called to “get in the wheelbarrow,” putting our faith and our lives in the hands of our Higher Power. We are called to let that Power truly have control over our life and death and our life after life! The good news is that we are powerless to do that, but our Higher Power has all power and gives us the strength and desire to daily get into the wheelbarrow, placing ourselves into His hands that hold us, or at least that want to hold us.
I have often wanted to add to this special story of faith. When the tightrope walker cries out to the crowd asking who will be the first to get into the wheelbarrow, I envision a child’s hand shooting up into the air and hearing a voice saying “I will!” A little girl comes running to the tightrope walker and jumps into the wheelbarrow! I’m not sure where her parents are, but perhaps they were right there, seeing her childlike faith and encouraging her. One of my favorite phrases is “Growing up to be a child.” Not a childish faith, but a childlike faith that is willing to jump into the wheelbarrow simply because she believes in the one pushing it!
We all know and love the poem “Footprints” because of the part that speaks to a time when we had no power, believing it was then that God carried us. How are these car-crash and Niagara Falls stories any different? Whether we are completely helpless, hanging on by a thread, or when we need to traverse a huge tight
Your talk talks….And your walk talks….
But your walk talks…Louder than your talk talks.