Risk taking

Enjoying the delicious writing of Luci Shaw’s The Crime of Living Cautiously this morning. Came via a friend with whom I shared The Shack. Bought four more copies of it yesterday and hoping our local Christian publisher can get the rights to reprint it here! Back to Shaw. She writes,

When God calls with unmistakable instructions about a course of action, the wise thing is to obey in faith, without hesitation. The risk of disobedience is too great when God wants to work through us. 33

I am not exactly sure what God is saying to me right now about risk but there are glimpses of a calling to continue sharing with others how God delights to work in broken and fallen people like myself. Quite honestly, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that we are doing what we are doing right now. But, I think it pleases God and if it brings Him pleasure and glory, then I am game! Will there be a future risky decision for us to make–I am sure of it but I am also confident that God will make it clear when that time comes before us. In the meantime, we are to live in the present moment with abandonment to his divine will. Shaw writing about Mtt 25 says, “Our risking in faith and obedience brings joy to our Master’s heart.” 41

I do need to mention that at the beginning of this second chapter of her book, Shaw warns that we must examine our motives when we sense an “urgent need to take a risk.” Risking to prove something to others or ourselves is not the the same thing as risk for the sake of the kingdom and glory of God. Enough said I hope.

Shaw talks about the past faithfulness of God as a spur to trust him in the future. “For some of us, an experience of acting on some risky decision that turned out to be a winner has fueled confidence for another forward leap.” 35 And she writes about the needed risk of faith when we don’t know where to turn, “Perhaps in the desperation of a seemingly dead-end situation, our only recourse is to batter against the door of our fear, disbelief and inability, discovering to our surprise that it opens with the golden key of the prayer of faith.”

Shaw quotes Irenaeus, “The glory of God is a person fully alive,” recalling for me another favorite, Eldridge’s Awakening the Dead. Her description of how far the Christian church is from this aliveness is cutting and brilliant and too long to quote just now! She then writes, “Living in the box may feel safer; it may also slide us into apathy and a kind of spiritual stupor. Lethargy of the soul is often the result; it is like living in a room whose windows are sealed shut so that no draft of the spirit-wind is allowed to enter.” 39

A final quote from her last section of just this second chapter seems a good reflection for the week ahead.

Because God loves us and wants to fulfill his ardent plans for us, he invites us to broaden our horizons. He longs to expose us to riches we never dreamed of, to realms we’ve only guessed at. There are barriers to be broken down. They fill us with apprehension at our profound inadequacy. But as we face our fears and trust his love, we can welcome the opportunities and dare the risks.

“. . . But if God is calling me into his service, I will be acting under his authority. My obedience to him makes him responsible for my destiny. 44

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