Lessons from a Tightrope Walk

I let my girls stay up late last night to watch Nik Wallenda walk across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope. My girls were fascinated. I was nearly sick to my stomach I was so nervous he was going to fall.

When he got to the middle of the tightrope, the winds were more than he could handle, so he squatted down on the rope to wait for them to calm down. Wallenda talked to himself and to God all the way across the rope. He prayed for the winds to calm down. He thanked Jesus for the opportunity and the spectacular creation. And he kept putting one foot in front of the other until he got to the other side.

When he was safely to the other side (because I could hardly breathe, much less think while he was on the rope), I was struck by how his walk across that tightrope is a great example to us of how to walk through difficult times. Keep moving, thank God for the good stuff, and hunker down and pray when it all gets to be too much.

While 99.99% of us will never find ourselves walking across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope, we will find ourselves in difficult situations. We will find ourselves in situations we never imagined we'd be in. We will find ourselves in over our heads. And our kids will find themselves in those types of situations, too.

Our kids need to know how to successfully navigate difficult situations in a Godly way. They need to know that sometimes all God asks us to do is keep moving our feet. They need to know that God is in control no matter what. Nik Wallenda's walk across the Grand Canyon is a great object lesson for this. If you didn't see his walk, check out the YouTube video above with your kids. Then use it to start a discussion. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Talk about difficult situations. Ask your kids to name some tough situations they have faced. Ask them to tell you how they handled them. Draw a parallel to Nik Wallenda's tough situation. Ask them to think about the things that he did when faced with winds he didn't expect and a rope that was swaying beneath him.
  • Talk about how sometimes all God asks us to do is to keep moving. When Nik Wallenda got on the rope, he didn't stop to look down. He didn't get frustrated when the rope started to sway. He kept moving. He put one foot in front of the other until he reached His goal. Sometimes, the only way through a difficult situation is to simply keep putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that God knows the way.
  • Talk about thanking God in all circumstances. Even though Nik Wallenda was nearly 1,500 feet in the air, where one missed step meant certain death, he spent much of his walk thanking Jesus. He found things for which to be thankful in the midst of the most dangerous stunt of his career. He used talking to Jesus as a way to focus his mind and to remember that God has everything under control. He was the embodiment of 1 Thessalonians 5:18: "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." When we take the time to give thanks despite our circumstances, we take our focus off our circumstances and put it firmly on God.
  • Talk about prayer. When the situation got to be too much for Nik Wallenda, he hunkered down for a minute and prayed for the wind to calm. Sometimes, the best thing we can do in a difficult situation is hit our knees and pray, trusting that God is in control. Then, just like Wallenda, we have to get back up and finish the journey. When we pray in the middle of a difficult situation, we take the responsibility for getting through that situation off our own shoulders and put it on God's where it belongs. We let God give us strength and wisdom for the situation instead of relying on ourselves.

Our kids can't avoid difficulties. There will be times when it seems like they're walking a tightrope over the Grand Canyon. There will be moments when it seems like they can't take another step. In those moments, we want them to remember that God is there with them. We want them to keep moving, thank God, and hunker down and pray when it all gets to be too much.