"He Found Me"
From Decision Magazine, a publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
I walk on a cable that is 5/8-inch thick, at a height of 30 to 35 feet, between two posts that usually are 30 feet apart. I have walked cables that were higher than 100 feet in the air and cables that were longer than 600 feet across, I have walked over dens of lions and tigers, between buildings, across rivers, and over a pool that contained more than 50 "man-eating" sharks. Many people have thought that I'm a fool to do that. But the Bible says that the real fool is the one who says that there is no God. (1)
At age 19 I thought I was a real intellectual. I was always eager to talk with people about things even religion on an intellectual plane. If someone would talk to me about God, I would say, "I have thought about this, and I'm an agnostic."
I should have known that God exists. From the time that I was young, my mother and my father told me about God and heaven. They taught me how to pray, and I had a grandmother who told me again and again that God answers prayer. And there were other people in the circus world who told me about the reality of God. It wasn't personal testimony, however, that made an impact on my life. The thing that brought me to an understanding of the reality of God was the Word of God.
In 1971 a friend gave me a book about Bible prophecy. Besides prophecy, the book also had words from the Bible along with commentary about those words. I began to recognize prophecies that had been fulfilled by Jesus: He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-23) in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-6); He would go to Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15); He would die a martyr's death (Isaiah 53; 1Peter 3:18).
"Maybe the Bible really is true," I thought. "Maybe I should pay attention."
But the thing that really got my attention was that God's Word would judge my thoughts. In Hebrews 4:12 I read, "The word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."(2) I thought that God if there really was a God looked at us on the surface the way we look at one another. But when I read that God looks inside my heart, I looked there too. I didn't like what I saw.
I continued reading in Hebrews, "Nothing in all creation is Hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."(3) As I looked at myself, I saw that there was no hope. I was lost.
I had a friend named Harry who had become a Christian about a year earlier. He was from a circus background too. One night I saw him, and we began to talk. Finally he asked me, "Would you like to ask Jesus to come into your life?"
"Yes, I would," I said.
Harry prayed, and then it was my turn. At first I couldn't get the words out because I knew that I would be admitting that I was a sinner in need of God's salvation. Finally I prayed, "Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I know that You paid the price for me and that You took all of my sins upon yourself. Please come into my life,"
From that point on, my life, my goals, my direction, changed dramatically. But even though I felt different, I really didn't feel forgiven. It took me several years to realize that I was still rebelling against God. Not openly, but in my finances, my social life, by business and many other things. I didn't want to give them to God. I wanted to hold on to them. One day in 1977 I was on my knees, thinking about all of these things. I cried out to God and asked Him to be the Lord of my life, not just my Savior.
God calls Christians to go into all the world. We may not all be pastors or evangelists, but we are supposed to take the talents and abilities that God has given us and use them to glorify His name. In the past 20 years my family and I have gone to churches around the world as well as to churches across the United States. We set up our equipment, do our performances and tell people that God is real. I also am involved in a prison ministry. I go into prisons with a group of celebrities, entertainers and former convicts who have given their lives to God. We perform and then tell the prisoners that they can have eternal life and hope in Jesus Christ.
I would venture to say that people don't go looking for God first. Jesus comes looking for us. And I thank God that when I wasn't looking for Him, He found me.
A Fixed Point
When I was seven years old, my grandfather, Karl Wallenda, put me on a wire two feet off the ground. He taught me all the elementary skills: how to hold my body so that I remained stiff and rigid; how to place my feet on the wire with my big toe on the wire and my heel to the inside; how to hold the pole with my elbows close to my body. But the most important thing that my grandfather taught me was that I needed to focus my attention on a point at the other end of the wire. I need a point to concentrate on to keep me balanced.
The ultimate focus on my life is Jesus Christ. The Bible says that we need to focus our eyes on a fixed point we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). I learned that and made it part of my life more than 25 years ago.
Confidence in Our Father
At one time or another I have taken each of my four children Alida, Andrea, Aurelia and Alessandro on my shoulders as I have walked across the wire. In those situations the children really can't do any balancing; I'm the one who has to balance and support them.
People have asked them, "Aren't you scared?"
"No," they have said.
And when they have been asked, "Why aren't you scared?" They have answered, "Because that's my daddy." They have confidence in me because I'm their daddy.
And I have confidence in my heavenly Father. I know that He will take me all the way across this Chasm of Life until I meet Him face to face.