A certain calculated risk that shouldn’t be avoided

Have you ever carefully contemplated a situation…decided what you needed to be careful to avoid…but then, when it came down to it…God got you right in the middle of the very thing? He seemed to say, “Thanks for narrowing it down for me–I definitely don’t want you to be trying to avoid anything!”

What is He thinking?! Why won’t He let us live our lives as risk-free as possible? How can He think He’s doing us a favor when what He goes against conventional wisdom? And why doesn’t He ever seem to like it when we feel comfortable?

Could it be that we would be missing something very important if we avoided risk? Could it be that something inside us, something inside Him has to respond to our risk? Could it be that we are wed with Him in risk? Perhaps faith can only spring from this.

And, what if we need to not only live with risk, but live on risk? Is there something innate about the risks He asks us to make that He may understand better than we do?

I hope so.

Could it be that in many cases the very things that are risks in our world are actually theĀ  privileges of people belonging to another place, possessing a deeper life than can be contained here?

I think it could be possible because I have hope. Hope seems to be central to risk…otherwise, we wouldn’t risk. Otherwise, I’d like to assert, God would not ask us to risk. If He thought we were really going to lose something we really needed, certainly He wouldn’t ask. But, our problem is most often not with the things we need, but with things we desperately want, am I right?

We want to avoid risk because its not safe, comfortable or predictable. We may learn to live with the result, but we will never know the surety we do right now. Our steadfast hope will likely have to be built somewhere else–on something we’ve not yet seen. My soul cries out in horror at this; it says, “avoid that way at all costs! You will die there.”

Yet, if I’m quiet, another part of me can be heard whispering, “I want you to go there. There is no other place where you can find such peace. I don’t want you to listen to your fears. I want you to find what is hidden there for you.”

Yes, there is a powerful invite and surprisingly, it is perfectly able to match the urgency my soul gives me. Surely both parts of me are in tension; the matter is that important. I must no what is going on here, why risk seems to be such a central issue.

There must be something to this risk, this hope that we need to know more about.

I think there could be much more to life than the simple, comfortable existence. We are alert to nothing because we settle into living amongst already-cozy mates who don’t get what life’s really about either. But, certainly, since we are all amateurs at this life-deal, we should seek some sort of coaching. We should sense that instruction is one of our greatest needs. We should be looking for help from someone qualified to help. Someone.

Yes, that’s right, I believe He can help. You may find this hard to believe for a variety of reasons–reasons that are not without significance. But my reason for believing that He can help us with life is not based solely on a need for something to be true. Instead, I am convinced that this would be true regardless of whether I wanted to believe He could help or not.

You see, I know that if you could look back over my life you would recognize that I have not always been one running in this direction. Though it provides me with comfort now, there was an extensive time in my life when I was committed to running in every other direction. I had no desire to make this my anchor. I wanted a more liberating “proposition.” I strongly favored Godlessness.

Yet, after I searched everywhere else, I was still wanting comfort. I was still without a steady hope. Coming face-to-face with reality, sporting all its blemishes and faults, made me wonder how I could ever live in such proximity to this if faith did not become real for me.

But, you must recognize that I was led here–I did not guide myself here. I chose to make this way my own only when I realized I did not have a way worth following. He promised we would be going somewhere, together. He promised He’d help me “make” it.

I didn’t make-up this scheme because I thought it made for a pleasant delusion that would serve me in preserving my psyche. I believe He can help because He has proven to me that in Him is life. I have not set out to believe that; I believed only that this world, ultimately, was life. I had no reason to seek engagement with Him, except He sought me and I realized there was plenty that was missing inside and He just might be what I was missing.

He is what holds life together–I think this is a very clear fact when we consider that we’ve each had too many experiences and heard to many stories that testify to the fact that life does not hold itself together. Though He holds life together, this does not mean that He sanctions–is behind–everything that we experience in life. He allows it, but He does not call for, what is evil. No, instead, He uses evil–which flows down to us through the stream of man’s rebellion against God–to turn us back to Himself. To teach us that where we are is not where we belong and we cannot make it home.

And, because this is not home, we can lay it all aside in favor of finding home, finding Him. We couldn’t do worse than avoiding this. Truly, it’s all we have here.




The Cost of Being Used

All my life I have wanted to be used. I wanted to be a vessel that pointed others to Christ, and caused hearts to rejoice in all that He could be to a person, starting with me. But, I didn’t know that it would come with this price-tag.

To tell you the truth, shopping for and purchasing this is choosing to pass by all the bargain-buys, in search of the most priceless object. I want that priceless object, but I don’t like living in poverty and patience that I may continue to hope I will fully obtain it. I was hoping to gain this, and some other nice things on the side. But, right now, in so many ways, this is all I have.

Yes, it is all I need, but I have not reached that high and lofty place (which I’m not sure exists) where I don’t want anything else. In fact, the more I pursue this one thing I find in Christ, the more persistently He makes me aware of just how many other things I am trying to find satisfaction in simultaneously.

I want it all, but I don’t want it all to be found in One place. I want my treasures to be spread out before me, that no matter where I go, I may have riches in full along the way.

But, that is not so for me. I only have one option if I want lasting rewards. The richest gain I know comes with an across the board loss. I am stripped of all other things, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him. No other things are needed for me to find contentment or comfort or care. I need Him. Period.

Now, if I can just learn to live this and love it. If only the treasure would wax so gloriously in my estimation that I could agree with God that the cost of laying aside my dependence on all other things is more than a worthy payment to commit to the advantage of being filled with Him!