According to an article in Reader's Digest, 15 people have attempted to go over Niagara Falls. 10 have survived. The most recent, Robert Overacker, died attempting to go over on a jet ski in 1995. Overacker died because his rocket-powered parachute wasn't sufficiently tied to his back (Ouch!).
You might be surprised to learn who was the first person to attempt to cross Niagara:
Annie Edson Taylor, a plump 63-year-old schoolteacher who claimed to be in her early 40s. She used a four-and-a-half-foot barrel packed with inflated pillows, a mattress, and an anvil (for ballast). Her ride was fairly uneventful, apart from the fact that she plunged roughly 170 feet over the falls in the middle of it; she was fished out 75 minutes after she'd gone in, bruised and shaken but alive. She reportedly told onlookers, "No one ought ever do that again."
I love that last line. Ms. Taylor has a point, you know. Why face an impossible obstacle if you don't have to? Unfortunately, there are some obstacles we all have to face. As people who follow a God we cannot see, we face some pretty steep, seemingly insurmountable obstacles to our faith:
1. We live in a world that seems to mock our values and beliefs.
2. We can't always see what God is up to in our moments of deepest need.
3. Often, the bad guys seem to win in this life.
This Sunday, we'll begin a new four-week series in the book of Esther. It's one of the most exciting stories ever told, full of intrigue and suspense, with an ending that no screenwriter could invent. But it's also the only book of the Bible that never mentions God's name. There are no overt miracles, no voice from the sky, no great "ah-ha" moments for our heroes, Esther and Mordecai. Yet even as they face the same obstacles we do, they learn that God is still God. I hope you'll be with us this Sunday.