Some time back Nik Wallenda amazed the world when he walked the tightrope across Niagara Falls. I remember watching as the winds were gusting and the rope beneath his feet swayed. The rope, far from taut, started out as a “downhill” walk and ended with a long “uphill” climb to the platform on the Canadian side of the falls. I remember seeing the mist in the air and listening to the commentators and interviews in which Wallenda expressed his faith in Jesus. He has since traversed the Grand Canyon on a tightrope as well.
For some reason he was brought to my remembrance last night as I went through my bedtime routine. It got me thinking about how my Christian walk has often felt like walking a tightrope, and not confidently like Nik Wallenda either!
My mother was and is a powerful example of faithfulness. I don’t think I have ever seen her sin. My father used to tell me that my mom was the good example and he was the bad example; I needed to follow her example! I tried desperately to do so.
I’ve always been quite aware of my proclivity for sin, and while it was my earnest desire to avoid it, I could never quite move quickly enough to out run it. I saw a thin rope stretched between my birth and my future death that beckoned to me to cross, sin biting at my heels and hell in the expanse below me. For the longest time this is how I saw my Christian life. Sin I understood; I did not really understand grace and salvation. I knew Jesus died to save me from my sins; but I didn’t realize that the new life He offered wasn’t just “in the sky by and by,” but also in the here and now.
While this is not a theological treatise, I would like to touch on a theological concept. There are still a lot of things that I need to work out in my understanding of God and the scriptures, and there are things that are now in the process of being worked out.
I’m not sure where I stand on the issue of predestination. I never bought into the concept. I can understand parts of both sides of the argument. I like to believe that I have some control in the matter of my own salvation, but I also like to believe that God is sovereign and that there is nothing I could possibly have done to achieve it. A couple of pastors, whose podcasts I have listened to from time to time, believe in predestination. From listening to them, I have come to understand the concept a bit better than before.
I always understood predestination to mean that there was nothing I could do right or wrong that would change my “heavenly status.” Either I was in or out. These pastors emphasize, however, that you will never have any desire toward salvation if you have not been predestined (at least that’s how I understand them!). Those who have a desire for God have been predestined by God. This is not a license to sin, but rather a motive not to sin. We are supposed to grow in Christlikeness.
One of the pastors has a saying, “I sleep like a Calvinist.” What he means by that is that his sins of the day have no impact on his salvation, so he doesn’t allow them to shake his status as a Christian or ruin his sleep. He repents and moves forward, harboring no guilt. There’s no tightrope! If we fix our eyes on the Lord we walk straight and on solid ground!
All truth is God’s truth, regardless of where it’s found. And while my theology is still being worked out, I recognize that “…neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39, ESV). I don’t have to walk a tightrope. I don’t have to worry about sin or fear falling. When I fall I need only stand back up and look to the Savior.