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Walking God's Tightrope

By Angela J. Darby
Staff Writer --Going to the circus was a yearly event for my family and me. The clouds of cotton candy, striped boxes of popcorn, and cheers of the crowd filled me with so much excitement and anticipation. 

Trying to look at three rings simultaneously with my circus binoculars was the most challenging part of this outing. One ring, with the little car, out of which ten or more oddly dressed big, small, short and tall people would emerge, never ceased to amaze me. 

The puppies that ran in obedient circles were jumping through hoops and walking on two paws. This drew an ear- to- ear grin on my face.

I must concede, however, the part of the circus that filled me with the most emotion was the tightrope act.  It always started out fairly simple with one acrobat walking high above his captivated audience, across what seemed like the thinnest thread of rope in the world. 

Every year the act would become more spectacular with two acrobats crossing the rope at the same time, executing flips and turns. They would even venture to use props and dangerously recline in a chair or navigate a unicycle, or a bike across that rope! 

Whether it was the simple routine or the more impossible stunts, the journey of the tightrope walker was one that consistently brought me to the edge of my seat. 

Unconsciously with every step, I would hold my breath as he would get closer and closer to the small platform awaiting him at the other end of the rope.  When the balancing beam he held swayed back and forth, and he paused with one foot suspended awkwardly to the side of the rope, or when he crouched down to gain his footing, I would gasp and desperately hope he wouldn’t fall. 

I recall the times one would fall and a sympathetic “Aaahhhh” would arise from the crowd.  We’d all clap as he jumped from the net like a champion raising one hand and running to climb back up and start all over again. Our hopes surrounded him, as this time he would walk his way to success. Then we’d really give a cheer filled with genuine pleasure and joy.

Sometimes our walk with God can feel like the daring feat of a tightrope walker. The main difference is that we feel both the excitement of the spectator and the pressure of  the acrobat himself.

Unexpected tragedy and loss, relationship challenges, difficulties at work, financial strains or simply the morning beep of an alarm clock can all signal the immediate need to maneuver personal tightropes in our lives.

 As Christians, however, we have the upper hand in this performance. Sure, the circus acrobat had the advantage of years of intensive daily training and the use of a balancing apparatus to help him along, not to mention the encouragement and well wishes of the crowd. 

But, even in our weakest state, we as born-again believers have a greater advantage. We have a Helper called the Holy Spirit who accompanies us along this straight and thread-narrow path.

He brings the balance into our lives that helps us to stand straight and tal,l and keeps us from falling. When the circumstances that prompt us to take this course are unfamiliar, as they often are, we have God’s training manual in the Word of God to take us through.

Moreover, we have a Savior named Jesus who lends us wisdom and shepherds us through each uncharted, and sometimes scary venture.

But what if we do lose our balance and fall?

Provers 24:16 (NAS) says,

"For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again."

I submit that the safety net of God’s unfailing hand catches us and gives us the spring we need to bounce back up, raise our hand high without shame, and climb back up to our appointed post and start over again. 

As you walk through the challenges of life, take the straight and narrow path.  Don’t be intimidated by the higher height that God is taking you to. 

Be excited that you have a divine Helper, a risen and all-powerful Savior and the safety net of a Father God who dearly loves you.


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