Nik Wallenda above the canyon: a 1,400-foot conversation with Jesus

Nik Wallenda, who was wearing a microphone, put his faith on display during the broadcast of his high-wire walk above a gorge near the Grand Canyon, especially as wind started moving the cable.

Tiffany Brown/Discovery Channel/AP
Preacher Joel Osteen (l.) leads a prayer with Nik Wallenda (second from l.), his wife Erendira, daughter Evita, and son Yanni before Wallenda walked a 2-inch-thick steel cable that took him a quarter mile over the Little Colorado River Gorge in northeastern Arizona on Sunday. The daredevil successfully traversed the tightrope strung 1,500 feet above the chasm near the Grand Canyon in just more than 22 minutes, pausing and crouching twice as winds whipped around him and the cable swayed.

Daredevil aerialist Nik Wallenda walked the full 1,400 feet across a gorge near the Grand Canyon late Sunday — and he did so in a continuous conversation with Jesus.

Mr. Wallenda wore a microphone during his 22-minute, 53-second high-wire walk – elevated 1,500 feet above the gorge – which was telecast live on the Discovery Channel and streamed online in real time.

The technology allowed viewers to hear Wallenda’s ongoing professing of Jesus, and interchange with Terry Troffer, his father. Wallenda praised God, and offered thanks when he felt winds strengthening about midway through his walk.

“Definitely whipping that cable.... Golly, wind. Go away, in the name of Jesus.... Thank you Lord. Thank you for calming that cable, Lord.... Oh, yeah. That's my savior. That's Jesus,” he was heard saying.

Wallenda’s faith is ingrained in his career on the high wire. In his memoir, “Balance: A Story of Faith, Family, and Life on the Line,” released this week, Wallenda writes: “God’s grace is the balancing pole that keeps me from falling into self-obsession and self-deception. Whatever I have achieved — and will ever achieve — is the result of my relationship with Him.”

His family legacy in the circus drove him to his line of work, however he says he was most influenced by his great-grandfather Karl Wallenda, who died in a fall from a tightrope in Puerto Rico in 1978. In an essay posted this year to Guideposts, an online Christian news site, he writes that he wants to honor his family’s “gift,” which he believes was given to them by God.

“I didn’t know why God had given us this gift, but I knew in my heart that the only way to honor it was to use it. Even if it was difficult, even if it was dangerous. Danger was real, but fear was a choice. I would choose faith instead – after all, that was a part of my family legacy too. Everything we did was for the glory of God,” he writes.

Sports figures commonly reflect their faith on their respective field of play, whether through praying before, during, or after a victory. Wallenda told the Christian Post in early June that he often talks to God when suspended on a cable. “I find that peaceful and relaxing, and He’s the only one up there listening to me,” he said.

Before the event Sunday, Wallenda and his family prayed with Christian televangelist and author Joel Osteen.

Last year Wallenda crossed Niagara Falls, traversing a distance of 1,800 feet suspended at a height of 220 feet.

After Sunday’s walk, he told reporters that God inspired him, like many around the world, “that again the impossible is not so impossible if you set your mind to it and reach for your goals.”

“Praise God here I am in one piece,” he said.

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