Tightropes and Trust

March 16, 2011

This is an excerpt from my new book I’m working on. You are the first to read it! Stay tuned for more info on the book and when it will be released.

World famous tightrope-walker Jean-Francois Gravele was demonstrating his skill for a large crowd of over one hundred thousand people in 1859. A rope had been stretched over a quarter of a mile across Niagara Falls, and hung more than 150 feet above the frothing water.

Blondin walks across Niagara Falls

Gravele, better known by his stage name Charles Blondin, or “The Great Blondin,” worked the crowd into a wild frenzy and then stepped onto the rope.  

The onlookers gasped and shrieked as he made his way out over the falls. He slowly worked his way to the other side, then turned and began inching his way back. The wind began to pick up, but with great skill, he adjusted his weight and continued moving. He was met with wild applause when he stepped back onto land.

But he wasn’t finished. He pushed a wheelbarrow out in front of the crowd.

“How many of you think I can push this across to the other side and back without falling?” he asked. A cheer went up and they shouted encouragement.  A few minutes earlier, the crowd might have doubted. But having just seen him traverse the gorge with such confidence and skill, they were fully confident.

Blondin egged them on. “Are you sure? It’s a long way across, you know.”
The crowd cheered louder this time.
“Are you absolutely positive? There’s no doubt in your mind whatsoever?”
Chants of “You can do it!” went up.
Blondin pushed the wheelbarrow toward them. “Good. Who will get in?”


I’ve discovered there are two kinds of beliefs.

First, there are verbal beliefs. That’s what I say I believe. Then there are actual beliefs. That’s what I actually act like I believe. The problem is, there’s often a gap between the two.

I’ve watched God do the miraculous time and time again. I’ve seen Him provide. I’ve seen Him protect. I’ve seen Him turn impossible situations into amazing blessings. And it’s very fun to watch from the shore.

But sometimes God says, “Josh, do you think I can provide?”
I reply in my deepest, most spiritual voice. “Of course you can God! I have total confidence in You.”
And God says, “Good. Get in the wheelbarrow of faith, and let’s go!”

See that’s the thing about faith. It’s real easy to have until you actually have to use it. Trusting God and leaning on Him is a piece of cake…until it actually becomes necessary.

It’s very easy to say I trust God to provide for my needs. But when the rubber meets the road, and the bills are due, it’s a whole lot easier to depend on my crutches than to depend on my God.  Saying I trust God is one thing. But doing it? Well, that’s a whole different ballgame.

Anybody can say they believe the performer can push the wheelbarrow across the gorge. But they don’t actually believe it unless they’re willing to crawl in and ride across.

You can say you believe “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). But you don’t really believe it unless you’re willing to ride that promise across the gorge of cancer. Or a car wreck. Or a divorce. Or a funeral.

That’s when you find out if you’re really leaning on God. That’s when you find out whether it’s a verbal belief or an actual one.

Anybody can say they depend only on God. But true faith is about daring to actually do it.

Have you been guilty of having “verbal beliefs” instead of actual ones? You can leave a comment by clicking here.