On June 23, 2013, Nik Wallenda set out to cross the Little Colorado River Gorge near Grand Canyon National Park on a tightrope. My husband and I were watching it from home. I was sitting on the couch in my bathrobe. The camera panned out to reveal the breathtaking depth of the canyon and the daunting length of the wire stretched from one side of the canyon to the other. It zoomed in on Nik’s tiny feet, which were snugly tucked into shoes that looked like black ballet slippers. The wire under his feet looked like twine. This is crazy! I thought. He’s never going to make it!
Nik began to place one foot in front of the other, inching his way along the wire. The wind was billowing Nik’s shirt and ruffling against his microphone. I couldn’t help but look down at the giant hole gaping below him. I felt dizzy.
“Do you think he’s going to make it?” I asked Ryan, hoping he would say that Nik was secured by hidden tethers or that this was an optical illusion.
Instead he said what we were both thinking, “I don’t see how he can make it.”
It was too intimidating. We expected him to fall. We expected a terrible end.
Skeptical Expectations Replaced with Hope
You and I can have a similar posture toward God’s ability to finish what He has set out to do in this dark world. We look upon life with skeptical discouragement. Politics, our health, the environment, the economy, national security, culture, our jobs, our churches, and our families seem destined to a terrible end. Circumstances intimidate us like vast gaping holes in the ground. We imagine the worst. We mutter, grumble, complain, and criticize. How can God possibly be up to something good when things look so bad? How can He win when it’s so obvious that He is losing?
I wonder how our negativity—particularly our distrust of God—affects us? I wonder if our negative forecast affects our children? When we shake our heads and speak about the terrible state of the world, are we missing an opportunity to create hope in the people around us?
What if we expected God to save the day like He said He would?
What if we expected Him to help us no matter how dire the circumstances or powerful the temptations?
What if we expected Him to be as powerful in the future as He has been in the past?
How would it change us? How would it impact our children and our world?