Can you imagine a tightrope stretched over a quarter of a mile and spanning the breadth of Niagara Falls? The thundering sound of the pounding water drowning out all other sounds as you watch a man step onto the rope and walk across!
This stunning feat made Charles Blondin famous in the summer of 1859. He walked 160 feet above the falls several times back and forth between Canada and the United States as huge crowds on both sides looked on with shock and awe. Once he crossed in a sack, once on stilts, another time on a bicycle, and once he even carried a stove and cooked an omelet! As he would make these trips across the falls, you can imagine the crowd yelling “Do it again! Do it again!”
The story is told that it was after pushing a wheelbarrow across while blindfolded that Blondin asked for some audience participation. He had proven that he could do it; of that, there was no doubt. But now he was asking for a volunteer to get into the wheelbarrow and take a ride across the Falls with him!
It is said that he asked his audience, “Do you believe I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?” Of course the crowd shouted that yes, they believed! It was then that Blondin posed the question – “Who will get in the wheelbarrow?” Of course…none did.
You see, that’s what true faith is … getting into the wheelbarrow.
Now suppose you worked at Niagara Falls selling ponchos. Your stand was perfectly positioned to witness Blondin going across the tightrope one day after the next. You had seen him do it hundreds of times, obviously without fail. You had witnessed him carrying many other folks across the falls in the wheelbarrow – both large and small. And then one day, you put your faith and trust in him to carry you across the falls.
Now how confident would you be that he could successfully carry someone else across? Of course, you’d be supremely confident. You know he can do it. He did it for you and you’ve seen him provide again and again for many others and in many different situations.
We grow in faith as we see God provide over and over. Even though we or someone we know faces a different situation, we have faith because we know God has provided over and over, without fail. And He will do it again!
Romans 3:21-26 beautifully explains faith, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”