Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. [Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)]
While watching my 16-year old granddaughter fly on the trapeze, I thought about trust. She clearly trusted the rigging, ropes, safety harness, net and her coach. I, however, was not so confident as she climbed up to a platform more than 25 feet above the ground. Her coach, acting as the line-puller, held the lines to her safety harness. She listened carefully as he called out various instructions in trapeze lingo: “listo..ready…hep!” and off she flew.
No longer a novice, my grand was working on a couple of tricks that required her to let go of the fly bar (and not just to drop onto the net.) In one, she reversed her position, requiring her to let go with one hand, swing around and then readjust her grip with the other hand. She had to trust her coach to call directions correctly and to have a good hold on the lines if she missed her grab. In the second trick, she had to trust both the coach and the catcher as she went from her fly bar into his hands. One novice flyer, however, was not so willing to trust anyone. In spite of the safety harness and net below, she refused to let go of the fly bar when told to dismount. Eventually, she came to a dead stop. Even though the coach assured her that he’d lower her safely to the net using the harness ropes, she stubbornly refused to release her grip. She just hung there until, exhausted, she could no longer hold her weight.
Trapeze is all about timing and trust and the line puller knows where the flyer is in her arc far better than the flyer. He calls out when to kick, get legs up, hang from the knees, and let go to dismount safely. My grand ceded control of her flying to him, trusting that his directions were correct, that he was reliable and attentive, and that both he and the catcher had the ability and strength to do what was required of them. When my grand relinquished control to her coach, she flew! Because the novice refused to relinquish control, she went nowhere and ended up hanging miserably in the air.
Hanging on until we can hang no longer—we all do it at some time or another. How much easier for her if she just trusted the coach and, for us, if we’d just trust God and give control of our lives to Him! Like the coach, God sees the big picture and knows where we are far better than we do ourselves. His timing is impeccable. He knows when we should hang on and when we need to let go and, just as the coach did, he’ll tell us! Unfortunately, we often don’t listen or obey and, like the novice flyer, end up in trouble. While trapeze school offers a safety harness and net, real life is nowhere near as accommodating. When we fail to listen to God and fall, our landing will not be so gentle.
Trust is essential when flying on a trapeze and it is essential in our relationship with God. Knowing that we’re in good hands, we have to let go of trying to run things ourselves and cede control to Him. Almighty, all-powerful and invincible, He will keep his every promise and never err in His guidance. Indeed, when we trust in God, we will soar!