Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Risking...for the cause of God?

I know that I personally like to romanticize the Laura Ingalls family. They were pioneers, they took risks! However, I do know that their life was hard, it was not easy. In readings I've done on the Ingalls family, I discovered a quote that someone (maybe it was even Laura) said about Pa: He showed the pioneer spirit "to a marked degree." This means he was not normal, he lived out of the degree of normal pioneer spirit. I don't know if I've ever quite looked at it that way.

Did you also know that Pa moved his family from the safe haven of the Big Indian territory...then back to the Big Woods? After they were kicked out of Indian territory, they moved back to the same house and land. Made the trip again. Risked....and seemingly failed. But, we know with Pa's great pioneer spirit leading them, that they lived in Plum Creek, through The Long Winter, and many other places not chronicled in the "Little House" series.

Inherently, I know that risk is good. It is not comfortable, but it is good.  It is normal to think: When things are going well, when the bills are getting paid, then why upset all that?

John Piper says:
Will a wise and loving person, then, ever take a risk? Is it wise to expose yourself to loss? Is it loving to endanger others? Is taking risks unwise and unloving?
Maybe. But maybe not. What if the circumstances are such that not taking a risk will result in loss and injury? It may not be wise to play it safe. And what if a successful risk would bring great benefit to many people and its failure would bring harm only to yourself? It may not be loving to chose the comfort of security when something great may be achieved for the cause of God and for the good of others.
Were Pa's risks "for the cause of God"? Yes, I believe so. He may not have been a missionary to Uganda, but all the same, God's power and cause were shown in their circumstances, to where He could be given the glory in their hardships, and in their joy.

If I think back on risks that I took in my own life, I can see that although they were hard decisions; that much good came out of it, and I was able to say "I did it for the cause of Christ."
And now what about you? Are you caught in the enchantment of security, paralyzed from taking any risks for the cause of God? Or have you been freed by the Holy spirit from the mirage of Egyptian safety and comfort? Do you men ever say with Joab, "I'll try it! And may the Lord do what seems good to him!"? Do you women ever say with Esther, "I'll try it! And if I perish, I perish!"? ~John Piper
What is risk to you? Are we looking at it with the wrong eyes? (The myth of safety.) Is it always a "good" thing? Do you embrace risk or stay "tight in the bud", so to speak. Please share!


Anonymous said...

We are expecting twins! When the other childen will be 2,4 and 6. We really stepped out in faith, lifting up our fears. One thing I read by one of the reformers described the preciousness of God's miracle of life...that no matter what (!), it serves His eternal purposes.

We are just starting "Little House" with our oldest 2...what a joy. My Norweigian friend and I often muse/joke about the lives the children lived and how good it was for them.

I have loved your last 3-4 posts. Warmly, Mary Brooke in Atlanta (who should pull a Caroline Ingalls and quit working)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a timely and encouraging post. Our family has just moved from southern California to New Hampshire...following our dream of living in New England. Hubby has a new job. We left our beautiful, lovingly renovated home (with its brand new kitchen...sob!) behind and languishing on the sluggish California real estate market. We left behind family and friends and a homeschool group (which we ran) and a church family. We took big risks, because we strongly sensed that God opened doors to move here, and closed doors to staying there. We have moved forth in faith. And it is scary, but we rely on God's grace to supply our daily needs...for a new home (when ours ever sells), for a church, for new friends, for everything. But we serve a great God and pray that we might glorify Him in this risk-taking time.

Goodwife H.

Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years said...

I don't know if I've taken any real risks in the last few years, but rather have left myself available to risks that the Lord wants to bring me through. Which He hasn't seen fit to in the last few years.

Which is probably why I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Which is probably why I'm always confessing my fear in unbelief.


Terry said...

Like GB, I find myself waiting for the shoe to drop, too. I tend to stay "tight inside the bud", as you put it (I like that, by the way). I do however pray that I can rise to the occasion and take risks for the cause of Christ, if I need to.

I, too find the Ingalls' fascinating and inspiring.

Anonymous said...

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The mom, the robot, and the dancer said...

I think there is Safe Risk, and Stupid Risk. In my life, I've felt that God presents opportunities to use my Faith in the form of Safe Risk (like risk that requires stepping out in Faith, knowing that He's watching out for me) but there's also Stupid Risk scenarios that tend to involve selfish wants on my part. Each time our family has taken a Safe Risk (with prayer, trepidation, excitement, trust, and a leap into the unknown) we've always been more than blessed in so many ways.

Several years ago my engineer husband decided on a career change that would enable him to work less and spend more time with our kids. So, with two small kids, we sold everything and headed back to dental school. God has watched us every step of the way, and blessed us more than I could have imagined! That was a serious risk (and our parents let us know it!) but it proved to be the right kind of risk. However, buying a new Honda Odessy at this point in time would be a Stupid Risk! I'll just keep waiting on that one!

Thanks for your thoughts. I so enjoy reading your posts!

Goodlikeamedicine said...

I love this post, Andrea. Eric and I are actually in the decision-making process for something big that many people tell us is "risky" in many ways. We have always wanted to be missionaries, and God may be giving us an opportunity to share His love without even moving out of town by moving into an apartment. It does seem "risky" with 3 kids, one starting homeschool for the first year this year, and a baby due in July (!!!), but we are praying about it.... your words (and Piper's) resonate deeply.

Cheri said...

How very timely. I'm moving, again. I am not unhappy about the move-but grow weary when others comment. But I look on each move, every new place as somewhere God is sending us. To take a risk...

I am going to link this post from my entry today (if that is ok-if not just let me know and I'll remove the link.)

Anonymous said...

Ah, risks. Yep, we've taken a few of them the last year. God keeps miraculously holding us in the the palm of His Hand, though... we've moved, sold a house, boat, and car, and my husband switched careers. All is the last year! Oh, my.


Janel said...

Andrea, I think risks fall into the unabridged grit and dirty story of real life vs. the sanitized Sunday school version you hear in prayer requests and testimonies.

A few years ago I started to realize that what happens between story lines (like the 15+/- years between Abraham's promised son and the actual delivery), is the stuff that I wade through in everyday life. It's a risk just to get out of bed some mornings.

Risking doesn't seem so overwhelming (most of the time) because it's the stuff real life is made of. The pain and struggle are still there and still hurt, but when you realize that all the other Bible heroes lives there too, it's nice to be in good company.

What risks do I take? Being myself when I have been burned badly by the church who sometimes fears passionate believers. It's about bathing in the grace to get up and do it again...

Pam said...

I found your blog today, and enjoy your thought provoking questions! I happen to love John Piper too. I think the crux of risk for me is in the complete surrender to Christ. That surrender is the ultimate of risk. My biggest risk has been allowing God to manage the womb, despite chronic, potentially life threatening illness and inspite of repeated miscarriage. Lots of pain and lots of joy more recently. Knowing and completely understanding God's sovereignty over all makes risk and surrender so much easier. It's the eternal perspective. - Blessings to you.

Free Spirit said...

I like this post about taking risks.
I'm taking a few of my own right now, by taking on the
many ways that religion has robbed my joy. I'm a lover of Jesus, who's trading in my old wine skins for new!