Falling Off a Tightrope
It was a snowy, quiet morning – an absolute gift of peace and space. My kids, in anticipation of a day off school, were invited to stay over with friends, so I had my house all to myself. This was both blissful and awkward. I had been running my life at an incredibly fast pace, but on this day, I was given the gift of stopping.
I turned the chair in my bedroom towards the window and enjoyed watching the gentle snow fall. Then came a gentle nudge from God to grab my journal and Bible. As I sat surrendered to the forced pause of the day, God had my undivided attention.
In those moments, God brought to my attention the issue of trust.
“Do you trust me?” God asked.
My quick response was, “Of course I do.”
Trusting God was something I had to do, especially with the weight of responsibility (actually over-responsibility) I carried in my life. The heavy load of life, especially my unhealthy weight of responsibility I carried as a counselor, was taking its toll.
As I pondered God’s question of trust, I had a question for God.
“What does trust really look like, God?”
Not thinking I would get an immediate response, I was taken aback when, and I kid you not, God said, “Get in the wheelbarrow.”
In that moment, my brain jumped back in time to sitting on the third row, organ side of Calvary Baptist Church. The pastor was telling the story of a man who performed stunts on a tightrope at Niagara Falls. The man would go to one side of the falls and ask his audience, “Do you believe I can walk backwards?” The crowd would shout, “We believe.” Then he’d walk backwards. He’d up his game with his safe passage back and forth. As a finale, he’d pull out a little wheelbarrow and ask, “Do you believe I can push someone across this tightrope in this wheelbarrow?” The crowd cheered, “We believe!” Then the man would ask, “Who will get in for this ride of a lifetime?” This question silenced the crowd.
“Get in the wheelbarrow.”
I had my laptop close by that snowy morning, so I did a little internet research and found that this story was true (sometimes preacher stories are just stories). The man was Charles Blondin and he was a French acrobat. He performed a variety of stunts and even carried people on his back as a part of the show.
But what did this have to do with my trust? What was God’s point?
As I thought about it in light of my perspective as a counselor, wasn’t I already in the wheelbarrow each time I closed the door of my office and began a session with a client?
his is where my lesson on trust clarified. I trusted God, but I saw myself as Blondin on the tightrope. As a counselor, I was the one walking the tightrope, the responsible one. If I messed something up, my clients could be at risk.
But what God clarified for me that day was that true trust in God was seeing that He was like Blondin and I was in the wheelbarrow. I didn’t have to be the perfect counselor ready for whatever situation might come my way. Instead, I could trust that He was safely going to carry my clients and me wherever He knew we needed to go. I didn’t have to stress out about knowing everything about everything. I could rest and trust that He would show me and work through me. And furthermore, living from a place of being still and knowing He is God would help us both out. Can you image Blondin pushing someone who was not being still in that wheelbarrow?
Getting in the wheelbarrow also meant I needed to daily make the choice to trust and not doubt God. I needed to trust Him as the Great Counselor, our Good Father, and our Gracious God. Our human nature equips us with the propensity to doubt. It’s automatic. But doubt is the antonym of trust. Doubt shakes our trust in God and is even what the enemy used to convince Eve to eat the fruit – “Did God really say…?”
God was inviting me and continues to invite me each day to choose trust over doubt. Most days situations and experiences seem, at least in my eyes, to be too big for me to handle or to know what to do. And guess what – they are too big for me to handle or toknow what to do. But this is where trusting God comes in. This is where we depend on the One who knows how to walk the tightrope.
I wonder for you, does God have an invitation to grow in your trust of Him? Maybe it’s making a conscious choice to trust and not doubt Him each day. Maybe it’s seeing yourself in the wheelbarrow and not carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Maybe it’s getting in the wheelbarrow and no longer standing on the sideline. Whatever it is, we can trust God.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
Get in the wheelbarrow, my friend, it’s the best ride of your life!