"You called in distress and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder..."
Psalm 81:7 (Amplified Bible)
I hit my 'tween years just as the 1970s were coming to a close. Cassettes were the newest form of listening to audio recordings, along with the wonderful 8 track box. But before we had a tape recorder, we had a record player. (I have actually had to explain all of these archaic words and their meanings to my wide-eyed children, uncomfortably feeling my age!) My parents had packed all of our earthly possessions in thirty-one cleaned-up fuel barrels and sent them over the Atlantic to our new home in Africa. Opening those barrels was like Christmas each time a lid was popped off to reveal familiar items from home that we hadn't seen for months. I can't speak for my siblings, but what made me happiest was when my parents unpacked our record player and children's albums. Every night when Dad would start up the generator for three wonderful hours of electricity, a favorite LP album would be selected and blasted through the living room.
One of my favorite records was by a woman who called herself Aunt Bertha. She was a master storyteller. It didn't matter that I had heard the stories on the record fifty times, I always listened with joyful anticipation each time. Aunt Bertha's stories always had a moral to them that she explained after the story was over. One of my favorites was about a man that had made the claim that he could walk across Niagara Falls on the tight-rope. A large crowd of people had gathered to watch the man either accomplish the feat or fall to his death. I can still hear Aunt Bertha's voice in my ear.
"How many of you believe that I can walk across this tight-rope to the other side?" the man asked the curious crowd.
"I believe!" said several from the cheering crowd.
The man waited until the noise had died down.
"How many of you believe that I can walk across this tight-rope blindfolded?" the man yelled out.
The crowd collectively gasped and then burst into wild applause.
"We believe!" came the response.
The tight-rope walker paused for a moment as the roar of the rushing waters below him filled everyone's ears. The falls looked ominous. The crowd seemed to hold their breath.
"How many of you believe that I can walk across these falls, blindfolded, with a grown man on my back?" the man challenged.
A collective gasp was heard from the crowd of on-lookers. People looked at each other in shock. But, wanting the thrill of watching the danger, someone called out,
"I do, too," yelled someone else. The crowd's enthusiasm reached a fevered pitch.
The tight-rope walker held up his hands for silence. When all that could be heard was the millions of gallons of water crashing on the rocks below, the man yelled out one last time,
"Which of you is going to volunteer to let me take him on my back?"
Total silence this time. Not one person came forward.
Aunt Bertha explained the difference between believing and trusting through that little story. When the crowd did not have anything to risk, they all yelled out that they believed the man could walk the tight rope. However, when asked to trust the man's ability to carry one of them on his back, no one trusted the tight-rope walker.
Girlfriends, I promise you that we have all been part of that crowd. We can glibly say, "Yes, Jesus, I believe You can do that," until the roar of the thunder of our circumstances is all that we hear in our ears. And just like the crowd that easily gave its lip service to the tight-rope walker and backed out when asked to trust, we can fail to let Jesus carry us also. And so we just stay one of the crowd that watches from a distance. Do you know the sobering truth about the shallowness of someone who believes but does not trust? Listen to what James writes in his epistle:
"You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror." James 2:19 (NLT)
I think that Christ ordains tight-rope experiences in our lives to show us if we merely believe He exists or if we have trusted Him to carry us over the raging waters of our circumstances. It is terrifying to come up out of the crowd and tell Him,
"Yes, Jesus, I not only believe in You. I trust You to carry me across these raging waters."
Where are you and I in believing in Jesus and trusting Him with our lives, sweet friend?
Jesus, the abundant life is something I have seen evidenced in others. At first, I could only hear the roar of my terror when You first asked me to come out from among the spectators. I fell silent, even though I wanted to make that move from saying that I believed You to trusting You with my life. I can testify today that there is no feeling as exhilarating as being carried over certain death in Your arms. I tremble each time You challenge me to let You carry me again over raging waters. May I never let my fear squelch the ecstatic joy I have experienced seeing the pit You have lifted me from on Your shoulders. I trust You!