I have always been in awe of the tightrope walkers of old in the circus. I have never, however, aspired to be one. Although glamorous, it appears to me to be a very difficult, very dangerous, very demanding, not to mention impossible line of work. Tightrope walkers are up so high and the tightrope is so thin, so thin as to be barely visible from below, that I always find myself holding my breath until they make it safely to the other side. I’ve never understood how they do what they do with such confidence and skill. How does that thin rope even support their weight? I’ve always wondered.
Turns out though, just to navigate my way through life, I need the skill of a tightrope walker. It’s all about balance – keeping my balance while everything around me is constantly shifting and changing. It’s hard to keep my footing in such an environment. There’s not much wiggle room on a tightrope. Must be why Proverbs 4:25-27 gives me this advice –
“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”
Interesting, the lifewalker is told to “look straight ahead”, which is good advice for the tightrope walker as well. As a lifewalker, I am told to –
“fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.” (Hebrews12:2) I am also told,
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ ” (Isaiah 30:21) Words echoed in Deuteronomy 28:14 –
“Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.”
So even though I never aspired to be a tightrope walker, being a lifewalker is much the same, requiring much the same skill set of focus and balance in order to cross the chasm and arrive safely on the other side. My life kind of depends on being able to walk the tightrope without veering off to the right or the left. I am reminded of this in Matthew 7:13-14, where I am given these instructions –
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
It is imperative that I stay on the tightrope and not fall off to the left or off to the right. I must find a way to maintain my balance even while being buffeted about by the winds and storms of life. Fortunately, I do not lifewalk my tightrope alone. I have a Helper.
“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights.” (2 Samuel 22:33-34)
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:19)
My Heavenly Father gives me the strength and the stamina and the ability to walk the tightrope I am called to walk in this life. The height of the tightrope is terrifying to me, but He makes it possible for me to walk there. In fact, I read in Psalm 37:23 –
“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, He makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”
I take courage from the knowledge that my Heavenly Father makes my steps firm on this tightrope, even while at the same time, He is my safety net. I will stumble from time to time, but He has promised not to let me fall. He will help me regain my balance, allowing me to continue onward. Knowing my Heavenly Father will be faithful to His promise to me, I can lifewalk my tightrope with courage rather than fear. He will help me to find that delicate balance I need to walk in this world circumspectly.
I am to walk in both God’s grace and God’s truth, keeping a perfect balance between them, lest I lose my footing and fall. The tension between grace and truth keeps the tightrope taut as I walk on it across all the chasms I must cross each day in order to continue my journey. Truth and grace – my Heavenly Father is a God of both. Jesus said,
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus is truth, and He is full of grace, which He demonstrated in His interactions with others while He was here on earth and by His sacrificial death on the cross for each and every one of us. In fact, Jesus is described in this way in John 1:14 –
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
I never wanted to be a tightrope walker – but here I am – struggling every day to find and to keep that balance between God’s truth and God’s grace – lest I lean too far to one side or the other, lose my footing and fall off my tightrope into the abyss. How glad I am that God is faithful to order my steps and keep me from falling even when I lean too far one way or the other and start to lose my balance.
“He will not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3)
“To Him who is able to keep me from falling and to present me before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25)
“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
I can even walk the narrow path, the tightrope, taut with the tension between loving sinners and hating sin, between faith and works, between the temporal and the eternal, between grace and truth, between belief and doubt, between the now and the not yet, – the tightrope that stretches from the seen to the unseen – the tightrope whose end is eternity with Jesus, who came here to live among us and walked our tightrope perfectly, walked it first, so you and I could follow in His footsteps.
thank You, Lord, for showing us the way to walk in this world without losing our balance –
sincerely, Grace Day