Tightropes and Tosses

“Sometimes faith is far more beautiful unadorned, and it is quite possible to crush a delicate and growing faith with a weight of learned arguments intended to adorn and perfect it.”—Robert Benson

You may have heard the classic tale of a daredevil who walked a tightrope across Niagara Falls, to the amazement of a cheering crowd. Next, the man pushed a wheelbarrow across the great expanse. Finally, he asked the crowd if they thought that he could make it across with someone sitting in the wheelbarrow. The crowd went into a frenzy of support… until the stuntman asked for a volunteer to get in the wheelbarrow. All went silent. Their admiration was real, but their faith in him was not great enough to join him in his efforts. One reason for this lack of faith was probably that they had seen the heroic acts, but they did not know the hero.

I am not a daredevil, but I am a father. Like most good dads, I like to toss my kids in the air like a pizza man with a high ceiling and some good dough. On one hand, they love the delight of flight and the view from the second-story balcony. On the other hand, a childlike faith grows stronger with each toss, without a thought for reason or the mechanics behind the experience. My kids don’t even fear gravity as they should because they have defied it for years, always landing safely in my arms. If a deranged scientist showed up one day explaining Newton’s laws of motion, Einstein’s theory of relativity, and the nuances of gravity, my kids wouldn’t care. As children, they are not interested so much in “how” it all works but are able to enjoy simply the thrill of moving higher in elevation and deeper in trust with Dad.

As adults, we sometimes make things more complicated than they need to be and rationalize with arguments rather than relate with God.

Action Step

How is the Father inviting you to simple, “unadorned” and childlike faith this week? How does he want to build a relationship of trust with you, tossing you in the air of your faith journey? Consider praying and meditating with Scripture passages this week that feature children at the center, like Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 18:1-5, and Luke 18:15-17. What does the Father want to teach you as his child?

About the Author

Brian Butler

Brian Butler is co-author of both Theology of the Body for Teens High School and Middle School Editions. He is the co-founder and president of Dumb Ox Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to chastity and vocation formation for teens, pre-teens and young adults. Brian holds a bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree in theology from Notre Dame Seminary School of Theology. He and his wife reside in the archdiocese of New Orleans with their four children.

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  • Bill

    Well said! Keep up the great work.

  • kevin


  • karen

    trust in the Lord

  • lazym

    We must trust in the love of God our Father to only give us good things. Even if we do not understand where faith might be leading us, we pray that thy will be done in my life!

  • Patti Raithel

    Reminding me that I don’t need to all the “hows” , but to just trust in God in everything.

  • Jan

    There are several aspects of my life that are out of my control. In dealing with these I have felt anger, resentment, jealousy, and fear. I pray that God’s will not mine be done. My role is to work through the varied feelings I have in dealing with these issues. In the past I would pray and pray that God would do things my way. He usually didn’t. But that was okay because after passage of time I saw how God’s answer to my prayers was really what I needed and wanted in my life. I continue to be so thankful that God didn’t answer those prayers the way I wanted them to turn out. Now I know how “Thy will be done” is so important because I can mess things up real good. Thank you Lord!

  • Donna

    Ever wonder why the elderly simplify their lives? Even there behavior sometimes becomes childlike. How can we give up our will & be like a child depending on God for everything?