The story goes that there once was a great funambulist (tightrope walker) who stretched a hemp rope across a great gorge while an incredulous crowd gathered and watched. As the cord was caught by an assistant and attached to the other side of the ravine, the confident acrobat began to speak to the crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he called out, “I have crossed the widest canyons high above raging rivers and plummeting cascades! And now, I shall attempt to cross your beautiful gorge. Who believes that I shall succeed in my daring feat?” Murmurs and discussions buzzed around the circle of on-lookers. It was obvious that the man had trained for this stunt. He sported an athletic frame of large, bulging muscles. He was also dressed for the occasion in leotards, slippers and gloves. He had a rod the exact length of his height to give him balance as he made his way across the tightrope.
“Sir, we believe you can do it!” a man called out as the rest applauded.
But they were shocked and stunned when he placed a wheelbarrow upon the rope and said, “Then who will climb aboard and accompany me across?” No one dared to speak. Their previous faith in the acrobat was in crisis. They trusted him when the stunt only included him, but did they trust him when it involved one of them?
Suddenly from the middle of the crowd came a small voice, “I’ll go!”
A little girl climbed into the wheelbarrow and held on to the sides. Against the protests of those gathered to watch, the funambulist began the journey. Some closed their eyes afraid to look. Others held their breath and fearing for the safety of the little girl. But the little girl just looked straight ahead as they passed the mid-point and then landed on the other side.
By now a crowd had gathered there too. A reporter rushed forward with a note pad and pen in hand. “Little girl!” he said excitedly, “Weren’t you afraid of falling?”
The angelic child scrunched her face and replied indignantly, “NO!”
“Why not?” asked the reporter.
“Because that’s my Dad!” she replied smiling at him confidently.
The Scriptures remind us over and over again that God is a Father who keeps His promises. We can trust Him because He is faithful. It’s easy to accept this thought as long as it remains in the realm of our minds just as it was easy for the crowd to accept the claims of the tightrope walker as long as they did not have to cross the wire with him. But we are exhorted James 3:17 that faith without any physical evidence of its existence (that is to say works) is dead. Like the little girl we must climb into the wheelbarrow because we know our Father is pushing it. Jesus challenged Peter to do the same when a storm raged around their boat (Mt. 14:22-33).
Whatever we are facing in life, if we believe God can take care of us we will behave accordingly. Like Peter we will step out of the boat. If we believe that God loves us, we will risk loving others. If we believe God provides, we will not keep things to ourselves, but freely give to others. If we believe God cares for our daily needs, we will not worry about what we have and don’t have (Mt. 6:25-33; Phil. 4:19). How is God the Father asking you to climb in the wheelbarrow or step out of the boat this week? How will you as His child respond? Will you be silenced like the crowd, or will you climb in willingly like the little girl? Will you step out of the boat with your eyes on Jesus like Peter or will you let your focus remain on the waves? Whatever your response remember it indicates what you truly believe about your Father.
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
Reprinted and Revised from 12/5/2010
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