Saturday, June 16, 2007

Taking Risks

Safe. A Haven of Rest.

But is it?

What have we created? How have we twisted one of the most beautiful gifts we have received into something mutated and fragile? We push those we need the most away because they offend us, they challenge us, and they make us worry about security. Suddenly the entire world is put into flux, and we are tossed and thrown about, unsure of when it will stop.

But I wonder if this isn't exactly how Jesus wanted it to be. Think about it with me for a moment. Jesus comes from heaven, and spends 30 years observing us. Getting the lay of the land, if you will. I'm sure there were some very remarkable moments in there. At the age of 12 he was teaching in the temple courts, astounding even the learned teachers of the day. When he comes into his own, and begins his ministry, he turns everyone on their head.

To follow Jesus is to drop everything. Your job, your security, your life, your family; nothing is sacred except Him. But we've been here. This is ground that we've tread before. Jesus was not a nice man, but he was great, he was determined, and he was demanding.

Can you imagine? You tell Jesus that you will follow him wherever he goes, and the response is, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Ok, Jesus. Whatever you say.

This is the same man who goes out on a boat, falls asleep and only wakes when his disciples wake him because a storm is going to rip the boat into pieces. Lightning flashes in the backgrounds, another wave rolls over the sides of the boat, as your friends are bailing out water as fast as they can, and it still gets higher. Perhaps he even yawns a little, looks at you, and proceeds to demean you because you have little faith. LITTLE FAITH!? We're all about to drown, and he's sleeping!

Following Jesus is risky business. So why have we made it safe?

Jesus will take care of you. Jesus will wash away all your fears. Jesus will shelter you from the storms of life. Is this really true? Did Jesus himself say any of these things, or are they anecdotes we have made up to comfort ourselves?

Jesus will take care of us, but not always in the way we want. He will do what is best for us, not what is easiest. I'll be honest with you, that sucks. It puts you right in the middle of things, and He'll ask you for everything you have. Gold is purified through fire, and so are we.

Jesus will wash away all our fears. I have been doing some thinking lately, and my young mind has begun to realize that most of my decisions are made out of fear. Fear of losing something, of gaining something, of being something, of being seen as something, etc. Jesus gives us the freedom to choose another option than fear, but he doesn't rip it from our hands. That's up to us.

Jesus will shelter us from the storms of life. Do you know of one great Christian who could testify to being sheltered? Jesus keeps us afloat. Jesus makes sure we don't drown, but Jesus also puts us right out in the middle of the lake. He does this so that we are very clear about who is guiding the boat, and who is in control.

Following Jesus is hard. So why do we spend so much time trying to make it simple?

Taking risks is a core characteristic of following Christ. He will ask you for everything, absolutely everything, and you will realize that you take many things sacred that you never knew about.

The next time you walk into a church service, ask yourself the question, what risks am I taking walking through these doors? What risks could we take to follow after Christ? Am I really sold out for Him?

Just asking those questions is taking a risk... He might answer.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

I think of the phrase, "Safe in the arms of Jesus." It's interesting that we see that written on grave markers. Perhaps the safety that we are seeking, the "shelter" if you will is not from the squalls of life, but rather from the true storm that could destroy our soul. In Luke 12 Jesus said that we should not fear the one who could ONLY harm our bodies, but rather should fear the one Who has the power to toss us into Hell. Then Jesus goes on to talk about how God cares for His people, and is attentive of even the number of hairs on their head. It is the great dichotomy that we are called to fear the God Who holds such incredible power over our lives, but in the next breath Who seems to be marked by tenderness. I would have to agree with C.S. Lewis, He is not a tame lion. The scene from the river encounter with Lucy (I think) demonstrates that trusting Him with our lives is frightening, but at the same time it is "safer" than the alternative of trusting ourselves! If that sounds pat or trite I am a poor writer. It is the struggle of every saint to obey the spirit of Proverbs 3:5-6.