The gentleman above is Mr. Bobby Leach. He was the very first person to survive going over Niagra Falls in a barrel in 1911. With this white brother in a barrel perhaps that is where my favorite restaurant got their name – Cracker Barrel 🙂
NO JOKE! Niagra Falls got its name from an Indian term that means “The Strait.” Not talking George Strait but the divide between the Canadian and USA border. The length of brink at “The Horseshoe” falls is 2,060 feet across and the drop is approximately 170 feet down! Couple that with 600,000 gallons PER SECOND rushing over with such an enormous force that God alone knows the exact power.
With skill within and grace above, Mr. Leach did in fact survive the falls of the ferocious Niagra rapids but he died shortly after by slipping on an orange peel!! Definitely not making light of his death but we can learn so much from this life lesson. Regardless, of what profession or ministry you may serve we all know that “Pride goes before the fall.” In this case, Mr. Leach could have quite possibly been both a humble and honorable man. The direction I would like to lovingly share today is that sometimes Satan will come after us not only during the mundane but right after accomplishing the MAGNIFICENT.
Consider David. Yes, he conquered Goliath with the Son but his sin conquered him with Bathsheba. Looking back it was God and him together who toppled the giant BY FAITH but David on his own derailed himself in the flesh. THANK GOD for grace and SECOND CHANCES because truth be told we have “all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” That is why we need God and we cannot walk a theolgical tightrope without the grace, mercy, shed blood and resurrection of Christ. Apart from Him we are doomed, dead and damned. Not glamorous but Gospel Truth.
However, the examples are endless in Scripture and we find them in sports too. Ali, the greatest to ever wear gloves was toppled by Father Time, Iron Mike Tyson was given a TKO in Tokyo by an unheard of under-achiever. Michael Jordan couldn’t lose a championship as a player but couldn’t buy one to save his life as a owner.
I recall a story of a man in the early 1900’s went to fetch water by the stream. En route to the ravine to his surprise (and horror) stood a seven foot grizzly! The bear stood up and growled and he just knew unless God intervened that he was dead. He prayed “Jesus, Help me!” The very next moment, the man by-passed the bear and miraculously outran the bear home to safety. That night, he couldn’t sleep and he knew it was grace that he survived. While lying in bed, a mosquito flew into the home and began to harrass him. Already dead tired but very much alive, he tried to fight off the small fly but failed. That small gnat intimidated and robbed him of precious sleep like Lionel Richie’s classic “All Night Long.” He wrestled and boxed that elusive mosquito all night to no avail. Eventually, that stubborn fly flew off with the victory at sunrise and the man didn’t get a wink of sleep.
Exhausted but reporting for work on time he contemplated all day about what recently transpired. About lunch break, it dawned on him that he knew he was utterly helpless when he faced the “Big Bear” the day before and helpless without God’s intervention but the irony is he thought he could handle the minute mosquito at night all by himself. Sometimes in life and even ministry, we fast and pray, trust and call on God for power in private to minister in public and it is all sincere. We know when we face the congregation, go ON AIR for a radio interview or stand before a camera with a red light on top that without God we are over and out. We know personally, that when we face the Falls of Niagra, giants named Goliath or a world-wide audience of some television show that unless God does His thing we are dead and done!
However, if we are not careful we can rely on our past success and slip up over something we thought was insignificant down the street. Why do most accidents happen five miles from the house? Perhaps became it is familiar, we have been down that road a thousand times, dropped our guard and complacency breeds catastrophe!
We need to rely on the Lord not for some things but in everything and even good, honorable and humble people can slip up on silly peels. God says “to cast ALL our cares unto Him” because thank the Lord, He cares for us! This week pause and thank Him that He allows you to be part of His Kingdom building work. Secondly, see each task as a chance to serve Him with a smile and realize that no ministry is small or insignificant. Third, put your full armor on daily because we need God each day, hour and every second.
Satan looks, longs and would LOVE to surprise us when we have our guard down. Especially after a BIG ministry experience. He is sick, slimy and that snake would want nothing more than to hurt, cripple, tarnish or derail our ministry. One may not bomb on TBN but we could on a tomato can that we didn’t see in the street. Most fall in private way before in public and may we remember Mr. Leach who survived Niagra but died on an orange. Sadly, most will be remembered for their demise more than their rise. God help us all because apart from God we are dead and done but in Him we can still do ALL things through Christ whom strengthens us.
Earlier this summer, I was blessed to visit 45 states in just over a week on the road (1,200 miles per day) with Praisefest Ministries and one of the stops we visted was the legendary Niagra Falls. It is truly a work of God and it takes your breath away. However, we need to walk closer to Christ in these uncertain days because trying to walk in our own power away from God should take all our breath away. My buddy, Jamey is right when he says: “All of us are a STEP away from STUPID.” How true! Any “success” apart from God’s success is NO success at all.