Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 11, 2020

King of the Highwire

(4 Minute Read plus videos)

Crossing a Volcano

Last week Nik Wallenda, known as the King of the Highwire, walked across a steel cable 1800 feet above a volcano’s boiling and fuming lava lake in Masaya Volcano National Park near Managua, Nicaragau. The 1⅛-inch-thick steel cable ran 1,800 feet across the Masaya volcano. It was Wallenda’s highest and longest highwire walk to date. What was Wallenda’s mental state during this incredible ordeal? What urgent concern was most keenly on his heart?

Nik Wallenda tightwires across Masaya Volcano

Central America has 133 active volcanoes with 19 in Nicaragua. Masaya is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and one of the harshest environments. Spanish conquistadors described Masaya as “The Mouth of Hell” in 1524.

With Masaya erupting while Nik crossed, Nik had to endure intense heat from the molten lava, as well as poisonous gases and buffeting winds as he walked the wire. Because of the corrosive sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid fumes from the volcano, he had to wear goggles, an oxygen tank, and a gas mask while carrying his 30-foot balancing pole which weighed 40 pounds.

Wallenda’s walk was aired live on ABC last Wednesday, March 4, 2020. The highwire dipped 60 feet at the front and Nik had a 60-foot climb at the end. He crossed in 31 minutes and 21 seconds.

Cross-section of Nik’s cable over Masaya

The highwire cable was made up of 205 separate steel strands and weighed 7500 pounds. The final tension on the cable was over 50,000 pounds.

The King of the Highwire serves the King of Kings: “I grew up in a born-again Christian family. A Bible-believing, God-fearing family.”

“Faith is the most important part of my life,” Wallenda said. “I believe in a thing called unmerited favor. It’s undeserved, but God’s involvement in my life has gotten me to where I am.”

Before stepping onto the wire, Wallenda prayed with his extended family. He thanked the Lord for “the peace that passes all understanding” and asked “most of all that Your Name would be glorified above all.”

During the walk itself, his mind was calm and focused. Nik’s frequent prayers, praises, and comments were audible to TV viewers via the microphone he wore throughout the ordeal. Here are some of his remarks:
“Thank you, Jesus. Creation is singing your praises. Amazing!”
“Kind of ridiculous what you have to do to get a good view of a volcano these days.”
“Seeing this, I don’t know how you can’t glorify God and give Him glory.”
“There’s another in the fire standing next to me.”
“It’s feeling pretty good. In the middle it didn’t feel good at times. I felt like I was walking through a hurricane. . . . At one point I got knocked almost back onto my back foot. It came at me quick and hard. It’s really weird. One minute it’s hot; one minute it’s cold.”
“The gases hit me hard. My eyes actually started to burn. But the gas mask has certainly done its job properly. But my eyes were burning.”

Nik Wallenda is well known for his strong Christian faith. He continually praises God audibly during his highwire feats and frequently credits God for his success.

Here is a YouTube video clip (6:31) from ABC News showing part of Nik’s highwire walk above Masaya’s boiling lava lake. It includes interviews with Nik and his cable team and some historic clips.


 
Here is a link to a 31-minute YouTube video of Nik’s entire Masaya crossing.

Nik’s most famous highwire walk is probably his walk across Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls on June 15, 2012 (see BSG’s Wallenda Tightropes Over Niagara Falls for info and Wallenda’s Witness at Niagara for a video). Watched by 13 million people, he performed an astonishing feat of strength, endurance, and concentration while publicly praising Jesus Christ via ABC’s live microphone.

A year later on June 23, 2013, Nik highwired across the Grand Canyon without a tether, again filling his walk with praises to God. It was a quarter-mile-long walk, 1500 feet above the Little Colorado River. Commenting on the looseness of the cable for long walks four months before his Grand Canyon crossing he said, “The movement in the cable, that makes me uneasy. When you walk you build up a rhythm, and that rhythm creates waves in the wire. On a long walk like this one, those waves get bigger and bigger.”

Nik briefly considered retirement several years ago after a rehearsal accident in February 2017. During a practice session for Circus Sarasota, the Wallenda eight-person pyramid collapsed. Nik caught the wire, but five of the eight hit the ground. Sister Lijana and Aunt Rietta fell 40 feet to the ground. No one died, but Lijana’s face required reconstructive surgery because she broke every facial bone. Surgeons used three plates and 72 screws to repair her face.

Comparison of Nik’s Masaya Volcano crossing with his Times Square crossing

Two years later, Nik and sister Lijana crossed 25 stories above Times Square in New York City on June 23, 2019. The wire was 17 stories high on one end and 25 stories high on the other. This meant Nik had a steep descent starting from the 25-story end. Prior to the event Nik said, “It’s pretty steep on that end. A little more than I expected, to be honest. So it’s stressful for me. I have to walk down that incline and the concern is, just like walking up or down stairs, if you’re walking up stairs it’s closer to you. If you’re walking down stairs, they’re farther away. So it is, it’s extremely intimidating for me just standing up here looking at it.” Nik and Lijana crossed from opposite sides, meeting in the middle where Lijana sat down on the wire and Nik stepped over her.

Nik has a contract with ABC for one more highwire walk. He wants to replicate great-grandfather Karl Wallenda’s 1970 highwire crossing 750 feet above Georgia’s Tallulah Gorge.

Here is a 3-minute YouTube video of part of Nik’s walk over the Grand Canyon on June 23, 2013:


 

Questions to Ponder

1. When you face a very difficult and scary experience, what fills your mind? What fills your speech?
2. How can you bring glory and praise to Jesus during the tasks you face today?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

Read the 4 Wallenda prequels on Nik Wallenda’s historic walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope:
1. Wallenda Tightropes Over Niagara Falls with video and picture links
2. Wallenda’s Witness at Niagara with video and picture links
3. Wallenda, Niagara, & Noah’s Flood with video
4. Wallenda, Niagara, & the Age of the Earth with video

Read about our circus trip to see The Flying Wallendas perform live:
Flying Wallendas at the Circus with pictures and videos

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday March 11, 2020 A.D.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. (Psalms 37:23)

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