There aren't many people who can say that they have ridden a bike, 30 feet above the ground, across a wire...backward... But I can! This daunting experience happened this past Monday at the MOSI, Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry.
Before you put me in the category of such daredevils as Charles Blondin, there are some things that I have to confess. Firstly, the bike was weighed down with a heavy weight underneath, meaning that there was no way that the bike was going to topple. Secondly, I was strapped in, so there was no way I could fall off, and thirdly, there was a huge net underneath me so there was no way that I was going to come anywhere near the floor. Basically, this bold, daring adventure was completely safe.
However, despite running through the safety checks in my head and knowing intellectually that I was completely safe, as the attendant released me to begin peddling, I allowed fear to get the better of me and quickly beckoned him to grab me and pull me back in. It took me a couple of minutes to compose myself, remind myself that I was completely safe before launching out onto the high wire.
The ride itself became less nerve wrecking as I first cycled backward, and then forwards keeping my eyes fixed upon the attendant, lest I look down and start to panic again. After seeing it was safe, Tracie hopped right on the bike and without a hint of nerves completed the course that I had.
On the way home from Tampa, I was meditating on the experience and realized that my hesitancy to launch onto the rope was much like our hesitancy to take the steps of faith that God calls us to make.
God makes some incredible promises to us that provide safety and security for us. He promises that he will never leave us, that he will provide for us, that he will be our harness in turbulence, that our needs will be taken care of and a million other exhortations that create for us an incredible safety net as we travel through life. God has never, and because he is God, will never break one of the promises that he makes to us. Yet, whenever we are ready to make bold steps forward in faith we have a tendency to hesitate and question the promises that God has made to us.
We ask, "Will God be there?" and "Will he catch me when I fall?". The answer is, of course, is that he will - not always in the way we'd like - but he will.
The challenge for us as we are about to take steps, or push pedals, of faith, is to let the facts win. If I had trusted my feelings of fear, rather than the facts of the safety equipment, I would never have ridden. If I had listened to the questions, rather than looked at the answers, I wouldn't have experienced this energizing, adrenaline pumping moment.
This activity reminded me of the words of Franklin Roosevelt, that "The only thing to fear is fear itself". This activity also reminded me of the words of Moses to Joshua - "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Let's be people of faith, trusting the faith filled facts, rather than our unfounded fears.