Ann Graham Lotz tells a story in her book, The Magnificent Obsession, of an Acrobat, Niagara Falls, a wheelbarrow, and a crowd. The Acrobat walks across Niagara Falls on a tightrope preforming a daring feat before the crowd. He returns, grabs a wheelbarrow and proceeds to push the empty wheelbarrow across the falls on the tightrope. The Acrobat returns once again safely. This time he picks up a burlap bag of sand, placing it in the wheelbarrow, and pushes it across the tightrope as before. Of course the crowd holds their breath in suspense unable to tear their eyes away. The Acrobat returns safely and this time issues a challenge saying, “I’d like to do something even more spectacular!” “But first let me ask you something: since the bag of sand weighs the same as an average sized man, how many of you believe I can take a man across the tight rope in a wheelbarrow?” Of course everyone applauds and said they believed he could do it. Then the Acrobat asks, “All right, which one of you will be that person?” Absolute silence ensues and no one moves. Finally, a little old man raises his hand and steps forward. “I’ve seen what you’ve done, and I’ve heard what you’ve said. I believe you can push me across, so I’ll do it.” Of course the Acrobat and the man traveled the tightrope and returned safely. As the man climbs out of the wheelbarrow the Acrobat bows, salutes and smiles as he says to the man, “Thank you, sir, for really believing in me.”
Everyone said they believed. Yet, only one person demonstrated true faith; the man who willingly climbed into the wheelbarrow. Most likely the man possessed some fear. I know I sure would! However he did not allow his fear to override his faith. I desire to possess faith like that of the man. Sadly, I’m more like the crowd. Each time I see God work in my life I am encouraged and my trust and faith in him grows a smidge. Then circumstances will hit and I find my faith a bit shaky. I get frustrated, disappointed and sometimes angry with myself. God has shown himself over and over in my life to be trustworthy; to be faithful to his word; to be someone I can trust. Yet, doubt creeps in with fear following close behind and I allow them to take control.
“Why”? Do I not believe, way down deep, where it counts? Perhaps, in part that holds some merit. It’s the little mustard size seed of doubt which gets in my way. In the book of Hebrews we read the definition for faith “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”. It seems I’m never 100% sure or certain. Does faith require that I be 100% sure, or certain? No, absolutely not.
Here’s the kicker. Faith is a choice. It’s not a feeling or an emotion, it’s a choice. I can choose to have faith in God’s love, faithfulness and sovereignty in the midst of circumstances. I can choose to surrender my fear to the One who created me and knows me best. God’s Word tells us if we have the faith of a mustard seed we can move mountains. I can fall prey to that little seed of doubt or I can choose to have mustard size seed faith. Faith is moving forward in spite of doubt and fear, and in spite of circumstances. Faith is being certain, choosing to believe, that no matter the circumstance, no matter what I see, or don’t see, God is at work. Faith is choosing to get in the wheelbarrow and allow God to guide me across the tightrope. The tightrope being whatever difficult or challenging circumstance in my life I’m facing at the moment.
Lastly, don’t miss this. The man, who in faith stepped into the wheelbarrow, trusting and believing, had the experience of a lifetime. I can’t help but wonder how many wonderful experiences I’ve missed due to those small doubts I allowed to grow into mountains, which kept me from getting into the wheelbarrow of faith.
Are you ready to step into the wheelbarrow?
My current tightrope revolves around health issues, mine and others. I’ve an exciting personal story to share regarding my wheelbarrow faith… Stay tuned.
Until next time,
“… I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20