Monday, February 27, 2012

Faith is Risky Business

First of all, I apologize for the cheesy and dated cultural reference.  Thhink of it as "historical" instead. 

Faith is often misunderstood. Some see faith as believing in a thing when there is no evidence to support it. But this is just silly. To have faith is to trust something to be true. The amount of evidence one has, or the way one feels about that evidence is only of minor significance. It is the decision to trust the evidence (not proof) no matter how much or how little there is, and no matter how one feels about it at the moment.

There are days when I am overwhelmed by what I consider an endless amount of evidence for the reality of God and the truth of Good News. If I am honest, there are other days when my mind is more occupied with questions and even some doubts about things I believe. But my faith does not change. I may be quite convinced by the evidence, or I may feel somewhat uncertain. In either case, my faith remains.  What I trust to be true is still what I trust, no matter how I feel about it at the moment. This is why one who met Jesus said to him, "I do believe. Help my unbelief."

So from a human perspective, because we do not always feel 100% certain about that in which our trust is placed, it feels like there is an element of risk to believing God, but especially when it comes to hearing from and following God's call on one's life. It is one thing to trust what the Scriptures say. It is quite another to trust in what we think we have discerned from those Scriptures and then act on it. It feels risky. It feels very risky. But we are no different than those of faith/risk who have gone before us.

Consider Hebrews 11 and the roll call of faith if the word "risk" were substituted when the word "faith" is used.

Hebrews 11:4 By RISK Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, ... and through RISK, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By RISK Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; ... 6 And without RISK it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 7 By RISK Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, In reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to RISK.

 8 By RISK Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By RISK he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; ... 11 By RISK even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 

It still works. There is an element of risk to trusting God. Sometimes that trust is rewarded in this life and sometimes not. But only people who risk, ever do anything great for God. No one ever lived a life of adventure and beauty and wonder and awe by playing it safe. Without faith it is impossible to please God, Hebrews 11 also says. And without risk, there is no faith.

May you come to understand that trusting God means taking risks. May the risks you take be propelled by the call of Scripture to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. May the Holy Spirit fill you with the grace you need to step out in courage. And may the journey you go one as a result be the adventure of a lifetime!

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