Mike was an extreme rock climber. A strong nylon rope and an iron grip were all he needed for tools. If there was a cliff, he wanted to scale it. No mountain was too high to be mastered, no wall to steep. He would spend days just mocking gravity, but Mike was also a husband and father of two beautiful kids. One day he went on a rock climbing expedition, with his friends from church, and never came back. Gravity had won this time, as he lost his footing and fell to his death. In the blink of an eye his wife became a widow, kids fatherless and his ministry peers were devastated.
Jennifer, on the other hand, was the poster child for caution and self-preservation. She wouldn’t drive a block with out her seat belt strapped and would shriek when she was forced to watch the X-Games. Tried of being so scared of life, she decided to face her fear, and go skydiving. It was the most extreme ride of her life. The wind rushing faster and faster, tickling her body as the ground raced to meet her like some passionate lovers kiss. The powerful tug of the parachute when it pulled her up to the clear blue sky. And the feeling of accomplishment when her feet touched ground. What a rush!!
Both Mike and Jennifer represent individuals who took risks. People who chose to live the genuine Christian life.
But let me tell you a secret, our God is also a risk taker. Just look at this wild, extreme universe he created. There are no signs of safety on this planet. The safaris of Africa, filled with so many exotic and untamed creatures, are proof that our God had more then some soft, cushy playpen, in mind, when He created it. Go north to Alaska and marvel at the great, ship sinking, icebergs and if you can make it passed the polar bears and ruthless weather, you will be rewarded with Gods natural light show, the Aurora Lights.
Now, travel back south and dive in to the deep oceans of the Atlantic. Killer sharks, humpback whales and gentle dolphins all waiting for your arrival, some more patient then others. An underworld teeming with intense excitement. It’s like God wants us to take risks and have fun.
You’re the highest risk that God has taken. The safaris of Africa or the deep oceans of the Atlantic are wild, but they could never be a rebel or curse their creator. We, on the other hand, could and did. When God chose to create us, He knew that we would spit in His face, profane the sacred and laugh at His laws. But he also know that if He didn’t take the risk of rejection, the risk of watching His son brutally die on the cross, he would have never gotten love.
When Mike’s wife was asked if she ever regretted letting her husband do the things that made him happy. She replied with a smile, “If I didn’t allow him to follow his dreams, he wouldn’t have been the man I fell in love with.” As for Jennifer, it’s been four years since her freefall and she says that life is a little less fearful and a lot freer.
Risk, it seems, is woven into every cell of our bodies. And if we don’t give in, are bodies get weak, minds depressed and spirits broken. Risk comes in different packages for each one of us. You know what I’m taking about, when your at the church picnic and you eye that person, of the opposite sex, that catches your imagination, but are to fearful to do anything about it. When you feel that nudge, from the Holy Spirit, to tell someone about your love story with God, yet you shy away. And when you hear the gentle whisper of our Father leading you to unfamiliar ground, out of your comfort zone.
Risk is a funny thing. If you fail to do it you might regret it for the rest of your life. But if you do take on the challenge and let your inhibitions go, it could be the scariest and the most Christ-like thing you ever do.
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