Gilland: Take the next step

Tightrope walker at sunset

Growing up in the 1950s and ‘60s, I remember plenty of times that I witnessed a tightrope performance, and I was always amazed. Not only were these incredible feats performed on the television variety shows of the day, they were also part of the big Shrine Circus performances in my home town.

I always found those attempts to walk on a tight rope placed high in the sky to be a strange combination of great agility, incredible balance, amazing courage—and complete stupidity! 

Most of the time, the tightrope artist would carry a balance bar which, to my young mind, seemed to be of no help at all. And in all of the circus performances I saw firsthand, they all included both a safety net, and a successful finish. 

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On video, I have seen performances that ended tragically for the artist. This art, after all, is not without its dangers.

This past week I found myself remembering those moments that were filled with sheer wonder and terror. I was reminded that life itself is not without its dangers, and unlike my experiences of watching those acts, it doesn’t always come with a safety net. But life does share one thing in common with tightrope walking: Both require a next step.

The same principle that carries that high wire artist to his destination is critical for whatever our day holds for us. We are never going to get to our desired destination without putting one foot in front of the other, taking note of our balance, and checking our nerves in the process. 

At some point, talking is over, thinking about it anymore is unhelpful, and all that is left to do is…walk. Put your foot forward toward the goal. Ignore the fear, the pain…and simply take the next step.

A friend of mine was on my radio show this past week and shared of his experiences taking the gospel message to Pakistan on a recent trip. Every moment, from the time of his arrival to his departure, was met with challenge. And I think it would have been easy for anyone to just turn around and go back home.

Upon getting off the plane, he found that the planned venue for his crusade had just been canceled, and the ground team was working feverishly to find a new location for the meetings. He found himself wondering, “Will this still work? Will anyone who had planned to come find us?” 

Instead of turning around, he took the next step. After a couple of hours of praying and walking by faith, a new venue was found, and the crusade went forward, simply in a different location than what they had first expected. 

The turnout was indeed amazing, as was the amount of people who came forward to receive prayer and to respond to the gospel message.

I can promise you one thing for sure: I will never be a tightrope artist! But I do share with them just one thing in common. Today, I am putting my right foot in front of the left, and I am going to take the next step forward. I pray that you do the same.

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