Sunday, June 23, 2013


Yea, though I walk high above the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil . . .

By Verne Strickland    June 23, 2013

Millions watched around the world Sunday night as high-wire artist Nick Wallenda attempted a 1,500-foot walk across the Grand Canyon -- one of the Wonders of the World.

The fact that he succeeded -- which seemed uncertain at times -- has transformed Wallenda himself into a global sensation.

A seventh-generation wire-walker, 34-year, Wallenda, successfully walked a two-inch thick cable across the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon. He completed the walk in just under 23 minutes.

His tightrope was stretched 1,500 feet above the gorge floor, and he made the tense 1,400-foot long televised walk without a net or safety harness. At one point, 13 minutes into the walk, he stopped and knelt in an effort to slow the cable's movement.

"Thank you, Jesus, praise your name, my sweet Christ," the 34-year-old father and family breathed into a a live wireless microphone attached to his shirt collar.

Beloved evangelist Billy Graham during his career in Christian ministry has reached millions via television and personal appearances, bringing many thousands of souls to Christ.

But faithful disciple Nick Wallenda probably eclipsed every record for his message of praise and thanksgiving, which continued minute by breathless minute as Wallenda moved carefully across the wire, obviously tiring toward the end, and seemingly making slight missteps on several occasions.

In a very sense, then, this death-defying stroll was as much a victory for Jesus Christ as for the Discovery Channel and live television itself. They made money. Christ won souls.

Commercial religious entertainer Joel Osteen, whom I have never heard utter the Blessed Name of Jesus Christ, was unfortunately chosen to render a prayer of appeal from The Man Upstairs to help Nik Wallender during his dangerous walk.

Osteen really heated up into a froth of faux sincerity and religious piety in a prayer that it seemed would last longer than Wallenda's walk -- but never spoke directly to or about the Lamb of  God, Christ the Righteous. He was spared embarrassment toward the end of his grand exhortation by the network, which mercifully cranked up theme music to obscure how he ended his TV face time.

I don't know what Osteen is, but I know what he isn't -- a true follower of our Lord, who says to us: "He who denies me before the world, him will I likewise deny before my Father Which is in Heaven."

But back to the very popular, brave and sincere Mr. Nik Wallenda, who grew up performing with his family and has dreamed of crossing the Grand Canyon since he was a teenager. Sunday's stunt comes a year after he traversed Niagara Falls earning a seventh Guinness world record.

While we're on this theme, many who might have witnessed that stunning accomplishment may recall the imbroglio which ensued when the network transmitting the live telecast quickly shut off the wire-walker's live microphone as soon as he mentioned the name of Jesus.

We know, of course, that Nik's prayer did not thus get to the vast audience looking in for that feat, but it definitely got to Almighty God, who is not mindful of an audio cut-off switch thrown by some atheist producer.

There is proven peril in the legacy built by the Wallendas. Nik's great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, fell during a performance in Puerto Rico and died at the age of 73. Several other family members, including a cousin and an uncle, have perished while performing wire walking stunts.

How many bottom lines are we left with here?

One is that Nik didn't fall to his death. The second is that this young man of faith doubtless ramped up the spirits of modern Christian disciples. The third is that Nik, as he literally put his life on the line, used this landmark occasion to give glory to God. I'd say those are three major accomplishments for one mortal on one June evening 1,500 feet above the Grand Canyon Floor.

For Nik and the millions who watched breathlessly by television and cable throughout the world, these sweet words may have come to mind: "Just a Closer Walk with God." There is no doubt that his Lord was with him every step of the way.