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In 2001, my dad called me at work and said, “I signed us up to go skydiving on Saturday.” Before I could get a word in he delivered this ultimatum in his best “Dad tone” that allowed no room for arguing, “You ARE going. There’s no backing out.” It was a wonder I could even get the phone back on the receiver the way my hands were shaking. But I promptly hung up the phone, went straight to the bathroom, and felt like I was going to throw up.
The day (of my impending doom) finally arrived, and after numerous reminders about the “extremeness” of what we were about to do and the “possibility (or in my mind, likelihood) of death” was reiterated several times we piled into the airplane and made our ascent. When I climbed out on the wing and let go, free-falling through blue skies with the wind rushing in my face, it was a feeling like I’d never experienced before. It was incredible!
Skydiving is considered by some to be a risky undertaking (thankfully it turned out alright for me!). And our culture has all kinds of plans and professions designed to help us mitigate risk. We have risk managers, risk assessors, and people who will analyze our risk, and the list goes on. While those things have their place and can be very helpful and important, sometimes we want God to do a complete risk analysis for us before we’ll step out in faith. We want to be sure that there is no risk involved in what He’s asking us to do, or at least a very minimal amount.
It can be really easy in ministry, or anything really, to become comfortable and forget that God hasn’t called us to comfort, he’s called us to obedience. Sometimes he asks us to take a risk for him. I’m not talking about cliff diving at Niagara Falls, but simple obedience to God’s voice when we can’t predict what the outcome will be and it would be much easier to stay where we are.
This past spring, as Jonathan and I were looking at making the transition out of campus ministry into the local church in Waverly it didn’t make a lot of sense for us to take the risk. We had a great job and we loved what we were doing! But we sensed it might be God opening a door. We’ve never had audible direction from God as we’ve made transitions and changes in our ministry journey, nor have we had any guarantees about the way it would turn out. We’ve simply walked through the doors he’s opened and trusted that whatever we would face behind those doors, he would be there to guide us through it. And he’s always come through. When we’ve taken the biggest risks for him, he’s shown up in the biggest ways.
What about you? Is God asking you to step out in faith and do something for him that seems risky to you?
Are you scared because you don’t know what the outcome will be?