Climbing into the wheelbarrow
In the 1800s, an acrobat named Blondin became famous for walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope numerous times. One day, a crowd gathered to watch him push a wheelbarrow carrying a sack of cement across the tightrope. With that extra weight, the slightest miscalculation could tip the wheelbarrow and send him plummeting into the falls.
Thousands watched breathlessly as he carefully placed one foot in front of the other and slowly made his way across the rope. When he reached the other side, the crowd broke into cheers.
A reporter approached Blondin to congratulate him, and Blondin asked, “Do you believe I can do anything on a tightrope?”
“Why, yes, Mr. Blondin,” the reporter answered. “After what I’ve witnessed today, I believe you can do anything.”
“Do you believe that I could put a man in this wheelbarrow, a man who has never been on a tightrope before, and push him across Niagara Falls?”
“Good, then why don’t you get in?”
The man turned and disappeared into the crowd.
Blondin was considered an outstanding stuntman who lived dangerously. The same may be said of Felix Baumgartner’s recent record setting sky dive. Felix rode a balloon more than 24 miles into the stratosphere to attempt the highest sky dive ever. His plummet to earth reached 833 mph, breaking the sound barrier.
The 43-year-old Austrian paratrooper activated his parachute and glided safely to earth, landing on his feet in the New Mexico dessert. His descent lasted just over nine minutes.
That’s a lot of trust to put in a parachute.
We exercise trust every day of our life. When we mail a letter, we place trust in the postal system. When we place an order online and enter our credit card information, we trust that the info is secure. When we drive over a bridge, we trust the well-engineered structure will hold the weight of our car.
So why do we have a hard time trusting God? The Bible calls us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path” (Prov. 3:5, 6).
Yet, we worry, fret, and wring our hands over the stuff of life. Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing.” That’s easier said than applied.
To trust God means to place our full weight on Him and let handle our troubles and concerns. It means to place ourselves in the wheelbarrow and let him guide us safely over turbulent waters.
God deserves our trust. He is God and we’re not. He asks us to throw ourselves into His arms and let Him handle our lives and direct our paths.
Stephen Olford got to a point in his life in which he did just that. Olford grew up in Angola where his parents were missionaries. He was a believer, but decided early in life that he would not follow in his parent’s footsteps. He was a brilliant student and wanted to be an engineer.
One night, he was riding his motorcycle, had a wreck and lay in the cold rain for hours. He was finally found and taken to the hospital. His injuries were treated, but doctors told him he had pneumonia and would probably die within a couple of weeks.
His dreams were shattered, and as he lay in the hospital contemplating life and death, a letter arrived from his overseas father that had been written before the accident and illness.
His dad wrote, “Only one life. ‘Twill soon be past. Only what is done for Christ will last.” In that lonely hospital room, Olford realized that he had been running from God. So with all the strength he could muster, he knelt beside the hospital bed and prayed a prayer that changed his life.
“Lord, anytime, anywhere, any cost. Amen.”
Olford didn’t die. For the next 60 years, he preached around the world and urged pastors to preach God’s Word verse by verse. He was still preaching vigorously when at 86 a stroke took his life.
Olford gave himself completely to God. “Anytime, anywhere, any cost.” That’s trust!
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ga. The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, just past the department of driver’s services building. Join them for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.