Friday, November 1

Courage to Risk

Three summers ago, friends in the annual book group gathered and talked about our final chapters.  Kids running back and forth between our laps and the sandbox, we tried to dive into words like fear and failure, risk and love, words that needed more than a few interrupted sentences to truly rewire us.  Somewhere in those pages, and I can't find them now, there was a phrase that I remember as,

"When you've experienced the deep love of God, you're not afraid to risk."  

Whatever it was, however it was worded precisely is lost to me now.  But I remember the feeling I had of being known as I read it.  Here was a finger to put on my experience; a trail marker giving me a name for my location. That place in life where I was simply not afraid, not worried was something I pressed into because prior to I had experienced the deep, renewing hope-filled love of God.  While it had been a hard, dark time I clung to love and he brought us into light...eventually.

Hard experiences are our greatest teacher.  We can choose to turn bitter and blame God for making us go through the hard.  Or we can trust that whatever comes to us is for us in some way.  A friend sent me a quote recently that sums up these seasons:
“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” -- C.S. Lewis
Fast forward to today...

We're deep in the middle of risk, holding fast to the mast during the wind.  We are risking building a new body of believers that will hopefully reflect God's desires to his creation and reflect the praise of creation back to God.  Risking being underemployed for the sake of being faithful to who we're supposed to be.  Risking alienating friends who don't get an invitation just yet. Risking the unknown future as we watch our boys react, respond, and even retreat regarding all that has happened and is happening now.  But it's not too much; it doesn't overwhelm and parch like the Santa Anas or bring the heat like the Chinook.  Because the love of God is higher, deeper, wider, stronger.  We have seen it and it is powerful.

If we hadn't been here before we might not trust it now. Might miss how he's working it out.
Today my good friend said, "I'll buy lunch."  The conversation and connection was priceless. 
Today my son won $50 at a holiday party.  His encouragement from the surprise was a divine kiss. 
Today was payday for my little part time job.  The reward of the well-fit work can't be price-tagged.  
Today my eyes have seen all of this provision and more.  There's more to come.  The love gives us courage for the risk and gratitude for the provision.  I'm paying attention.  I'm not afraid.