One hundred and ninety feet above a gorge of swirling turbulent water on a rope 1300 feet long and only two inches in diameter, Charles Blondin was the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. In June of 1859, 25,000 people gathered to see him perform the feat or watch him plummet to a watery grave below. Not only did Blondin make the trip across and back, by 1896 he’d crossed over 300 times performing stunts like sitting on the rope and having a bottle of wine, strapping a Daguerreotype camera to his back and taking pictures of the crowd, crossing with his body shackled, and walking with a sack placed over his head. He even brought a stove upon which he cooked an omelet and lowered it by rope to the Maid of the Mist boat below.
In my opinion, the most trusting feat was on the part of his manager, Harry Colcord, who crossed Niagara on Blondin’s back. Blondin told Colcord, “Look up, Harry…. You are no longer Colcord, you are Blondin. Until I clear this place be a part of me, mind, body, and soul. If I sway, sway with me. Do not attempt to do any balancing yourself.” (Daredevil of Niagara Falls, Abbot, Smithsonianmag.com Oct. 18, 2018)
Trust is a powerful force.
Steve Covey in his book, The Speed of Trust, says if trust is removed it, “will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, [and] the deepest love.” (Soundview Executive Book Summaries, Speed of Trust, Vol. 28, No. 11, Part 1, November 2006)
Trust is risky.
Trusting someone is challenging. What if they let me down? Relinquishing control is hard. What if something I need doesn’t get done? We are an independent nation. We’d prefer to fix the problem ourselves. However, a lack of trust slows things down. It also keeps relationships superficial, measured, and distant. In order to reach a deeper level, in order to build trust, we have to take the first step and trust someone else. Steven Covey points out that trust “has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life.”
It is even riskier not to trust.
Many of Blondin’s spectators believed he could make it across the gorge, yet only Colcord had the trust to climb onto Blondin’s back and cling to him knowing his life lay literally in the balance. He trusted Blondin enough to sway with him as the strong winds rocked the rope.
Life will have valleys and gorges. Who are you trusting to get you over them? Are you picking up a balancing stick and stepping onto the swaying rope yourself? Or, are you climbing onto God’s back and allowing Him to carry you over? Are you sacrificing trust to control the small, fleeting moments of your life, or are you trusting in the One who’s bigger than the gorge—the One who controls your ultimate destiny?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding. Agree with Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
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