The Catcher

Trapeze Swing

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Circus was in town not long ago. Their arrival produced in me a flood of childhood memories. As a kid, my folks took me to see the circus. I loved to watch the trapeze artists. I was amazed that people could dangle from a thin bar, swish from arm to arm, twist and turn in midair, and never fall flat on their faces.

Thinking about those trapeze artists, I revisited one of my favorite books by Henri Nouwen, Turn My Mourning into Dancing: Finding Hope in the Hard Times. Nouwen was so fascinated by the trapeze that he traveled with the circus for a week each year. He befriended the lead trapeze artist and spoke to him one afternoon about his craft. Nouwen recorded in his book what the circus performer said to him. It contains an important truth for the soul.

“Henri, everyone applauds for me because when I do those leaps and backflips, they think I am the hero. But the real hero is the catcher. The only thing I have to do is stretch out my hands and trust, trust that he will be there to pull me back up.”[ref]Henri Nouwen, Turn My Mourning into Dancing: Finding Hope in the Hard Times (Nashville: Word, 2001), 43.[/ref]

Perhaps today, you are in a fall of sorts. You may have believed life was secure and are now realizing that that belief is an illusion. It can be painful and terrifying. The truth is, nothing in life can really hold you safe—not money, not success, not even family. The only catcher that will never let you fall is Jesus Christ. Jesus promised in the pages of Scripture that those who open their hands to Him are always rescued. It’s understandable if you cannot see how Jesus will catch you when life seems to be twisting and turning you around in midair. But trust me, He will. That’s called faith. The trapeze artist twists and turns in midair; he trusts that at just the right moment the catcher will catch him and then set him free.

And so will Jesus, if you just trust Him.