Pastoral Perspectives

Walking by Faith

This story must have been re-told many times over, but I thought it is still a good story to reflect in today’s perspective.

There was a tight-rope walker who walked across the Niagara Falls from the Canadian to the American side and vice versa. The audience, who watched this amazing feat was in awe; and applauded the brave act of this man. He surprised them even further by walking blindfolded with his assistant on his shoulder across the Niagara Falls. They could see that he was very confident walking across on the tight rope and there was no doubt he was very skillful in what he was doing. However, he astounded the audience by asking if anyone would like to sit on his shoulder as he walk across the Niagara Falls. He has demonstrated beyond any doubt of his talent to do this act. Although the audience knew of his expertise as a tight-rope walker, there was none who volunteered to his invitation. The audience witnessed all his acts but failed to put their trust and confidence in him. Their belief in this man’s extra-ordinary skill on the tight rope did not help them to act confidently to his invitation.

The conviction to act on what we truly believe, if not put into action, then our belief is only just an act. Superlative words were expressed to affirm the man’s skill on the tight-rope, which was truly astounding, but the audience declined when they were asked to put to test their belief.

This I think, has been a challenge to our Christian faith, in not acting out our belief; i.e. to take God’s word as it is. Firstly, I hope we sincerely believe that when we die, we will be with our Lord. I wonder how has this truth impacted and changed our daily life? Is there a difference in our outlook or perspective of life on earth since we know we have eternal life? I would like to add that eternal life doesn’t begin when we die but rather when we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour (John 3:16). So, I would like to say we should not allow ourselves to think that the starting point of our eternal life is only when death knocks at our door. In the First Century, what could possibly be the reason why the early Christians were able to go through the pain, suffering and death for our Lord? Surely it was their belief in Jesus from his words (and the Scriptures). His resurrection was another proof of what he said was true. Their assurance of salvation was a reality in their lives for they have placed their faith in him.

Secondly, we heard how the tight-rope walker moved from the Canadian to the American side and vice versa. So, from this analogy, our walk of faith is not stationary but a movement from one point to another. Christians should progress from the cross to carrying the cross in living a life empowered by the Holy Spirit. However, I would think, perhaps there may be some who are still locked in time, clinging to the cross and afraid to make a move towards Christian maturity. Not babies in the faith anymore, but now eating “bak” as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. Otherwise, it would show that we have no confidence from the invitation given to us by our Lord to walk with him (by faith).

Thirdly, life has its many trials and tribulations and it would seem these are sometimes too much for us to bear. In the story, the tight-rope walker’s request to be on his shoulder is not something easy to follow or to do. Perhaps, acrophobia (the extreme fear of heights) is our weakness and it would be madness to attempt it. But the point I am coming to is that life here is definitely not a “bed of roses” all the time. There are also uncertainties in the economy, not to mentioned health hazards (dengue and zika), global warming or even the threat of terrorism is ever present. There is also without doubt, we will have to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death”; and because of these, the invitation to walk with him on life’s precarious tight-rope actually becomes a necessity for living in faith. Jesus is saying, come walk with him, he will shoulder all our burdens, surrender our will to his, for he will be with us always.

ESV Hebrews 11:1&6 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Rev Eddie Chandra

October 16, 2016