The Wheelbarrow

Jean Francois Gravelet, “The Great Blondin,” was famous for his death-defying tightrope acts.   In 1859, he was the first person to walk the 1,100 feet (335 meters) across Niagara Falls.  Ever the showman, he performed the walk several different times, adding variety by walking the tightrope blindfolded, with his manager on his back, with his hands and feet manacled, while balancing on stilts and while on a bicycle.  He even once cooked and ate an omelet in the center of the rope.


On one occasion, he asked the crowd, “How many of you believe that I, The Great Blondin, can walk across this tightrope to the other side?”Unanimously they responded, “We believe! We believe!”


So he walked across the tightrope and came back again. Then he asked them, “How many of you believe that I, The Great Blondin, can not only walk back across that tightrope, but this time do it while I push a wheelbarrow?”“We believe!  We believe!”


Then he asked, “How many of you really believe it?”“Oh, we really believe it!” they shouted back. One man, a little more enthusiastic than the others, caught The Great Blondin’s eye.  Pointing to the man, he said, “If you really believe, then get in the wheelbarrow.”


The man quickly disappeared.


The difference between what we say we believe and what we really believe will always show up in our actions.  Jesus hears us say, “We believe!  We believe!” but if we don’t do what He asks us to do, it’s not really faith, is it? 

If we’re going to be honest, we share the duplicity of the man with the demon-possessed son.  He tipped his hand when he asked Jesus to heal his son, “if you can.”  But the Lord of heaven and earth wasn’t going to let that slip slip by.


“’If you can?’” said Jesus.  “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

And the father, God bless him, gave one of the most honest responses in all of Scripture:


Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  (Mark 9:24)


Yes!  That captures it!  “We believe!  Help us overcome our unbelief!”  Where else are we going to go with our doubts and our fears?  The Lord is the only one who can help us with those.


Jesus wants us to get into His wheelbarrow.  What that wheelbarrow represents is unique to what God wants to do in your life.  Of course, it’s scary!  It’s not faith unless there is risk and uncertainty involved.  But if you’ll get in His wheelbarrow and let Him take you where He wants you to go, you are in for the ride of a lifetime! 

(S – Greg Laurie – Harvest Daily Devotional, 2/27/06)



Filed under Challenges, Fear, God's Will

2 responses to “The Wheelbarrow

  1. This is one of my favorite stories. The Encyclopedia Britannica gives even more details. It is a classic allegory of the encouragement to trust wholly in the Lord, the only One capable of transporting us from the realm of spiritual death to Eternal Life. I’ve told the story again in my own weblog:


    Thanks, Eulene! I loved checking our your blog! Very encouraging!


  2. Corine

    Hi Michael,
    While searching for the true story about the Blondin for my alphacourse talk, I found your weblog. Thanks for telling this inspiring story again.



    You are most welcome, Corine! Thanks for stopping by.


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