For this post in my series on Faith and Risk, I’ve asked some dear friends to ponder and respond to this question: In what way would you like to deepen your faith in the Lord Jesus by taking greater risk? Here are the replies I’ve received so far. And be sure to add your thoughts to the mix!
Catch up on previous Faith and Risk posts:
Thoughts from Lisa Burton
Hmm. God doesn’t really MAKE things easy for us. This is a topic I have struggled with often. I am not afraid to take some risks and trust God. I happen to be a “picker and chooser” of my risk taking. I believe I am wired to be more of a risk taker but the fear of failure in certain areas prohibits me from the challenges and blessings He offers. I desire to follow my passions in ministry and have been SLOWLY exploring my field, so to speak. (I have always been involved in ministries I have enjoyed or have talents in, but not passion.) I must admit I am scared to fail. Many people see me as strong, secure, bold, and in some ways, I am these, but there is a scared little girl inside who does not always think much of herself. I know, however, if I do not try that that is the true failure. You can list me as Lisa Burton. (See, there are some risks I am willing to take, and being “nakedly bold” about myself is one of them.)
Thoughts from Kim S.
Because I am a weak and wounded sinner, I have a difficult time remembering that Jesus wants me to come to Him so I can really live. God gives me a choice every day to choose life or not. I feel that in order to choose life I must continually deepen my faith. Because life is hard. So, I guess I would like to deepen my faith to the point to where I won’t forget that Jesus wants me to live by faith. It will be like breathing, I could not survive without doing it. However, it is kinda scary to pray for this . . . am I really willing to go through the fire to be refined by God? That takes a huge risk. Because I may have to go through difficulties to develop the kind of faith I desire. In order to follow Jesus into greater risk I must first know Him and then the risk will be not quite as scary. The more often I do follow Him into areas that have risk involved I do experience His love and faithfulness, and then I am even more ready to take the next step in my walk of faith.
Thoughts from Rubie
Faith. What a funny word. “I have faith in this” or “I hope in that.” The thing that I get so confused with is that these two statements are not tantamount. In Hebrews, it says that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Sure, I believe that God can do anything, but the question is whether or not I have faith that He can. Well, I look at the way I’m living, and I have to answer no. If I truly went beyond just belief (Heck, the Bible says that even the demons believe!), I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t be sitting here right now living a “normal life.” . . . Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are great examples of how belief is surpassed by faith. They knew that once they were thrown in the fire, it would be physically impossible to come out alive. So why did they challenge the king anyway? Because they went beyond just belief. They had faith. . . .
I would have never had the courage to attempt these feats myself. . . . These people make such an impression on me because, in contrast to my “want it now” mindset, they knew that they may never live to see God’s promises, and yet they continued anyway. In Hebrews 11:13, it says “all these died in faith, without receiving the promises but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance.” God has really put on my heart recently is that we live our lives so much by belief rather than this radical faith that we see throughout the Bible. If God called us to fight . . . and to lose, would we still go on? I praise God in my victory, but would I be able to see His face in defeat? These questions are a knife in my heart. It makes me wonder what kind of a generation we could be if we fully trusted that God will make everything right in the end; trust it so much that we would be willing to sacrifice the brief stay we have on earth in order to receive our reward in an incomprehensible eternity. Who would I be if I truly lived by faith?
Thoughts from S
Well, Erin, as I began thinking about your question, along with the explanation you gave to it, my first thought was . . . well, I am definitely placing my life in his hands, but not because I really wanted to, but because there is no other option.
I don’t mean “no other option” in an angry or resentful way, but more that I am being truly humbled by cancer and am seeing that I really don’t have any say over this stuff, but that God has all the say. And in a huge way, that is a relief! I cannot do anything good or funny or smart or generous, etc., that makes any difference—God is God and I am his. And now my role is just to figure out how to do what he wants me to do in all of this. That has become my prayer to him—that I do this thing well; that I don’t let him down in what he wants to accomplish through me. What an awful thing it would be to do all of this cancer stuff and yet stand in his way somehow of accomplishing something, or reaching someone!
So back to your question . . . the risk I’d like to take, while holding God’s hand, is to joyfully explore this new adventure and be an open conduit to what he wants to accomplish. I’m not a social butterfly by any means, so striking up conversations with folks about cancer, much less how my faith is making the journey not only possible but in some ways exciting and interesting, is a tall order for me. But, I plan to get there! This is an area of my faith that I want to explore and perhaps this is yet another (in a growing list) of reasons that this phase of my life is happening . . . much to ponder! —S