God has been really working on our hearts lately. Preparing us for something that so many call risky and Ive heard the strangest comments from some people in the faith that I felt it needs to be addressed. We so mistake what God asks from us. Thinking that God's will for our lives is something that comes in burning bushes or through some imaginary "call" and does not involve risk of any kind. We take our emotions as indicators of what we are supposed to do (if were fearful dont do it, if were not go ahead), ignoring God's clear commands.
You dont have to ask is it God's will to care for the poor, for widows, for orphans (James 1:27). It is!! God clearly says in the bible to do these things just as he tells us to love him and love others. We make such a mess of the simplest things. True this might look different to some people, but its not a waiting game. Its not a aha moment where you will know without a shadow of doubt your doing the right thing. It's not a call we receive. Everyday is a daily prayer, a daily opening of your hearts. a daily walk that leaves room for God. If you ask God to show you how to live out these commands he will show you today, not some time in the future. He does not ask us to wait til our kids are grown or our lives are more put together. We align our lives daily to God and in the process God's holy spirit is poured out, transforming us and our family in the process.
This Christian life is risky business, but we have made a terrible assumption that God would not call us to risk our lives, risk our families. By all means count the cost, but dont assume that God would not put you and your family in situations that are risky. Everyday God sends families oversees to areas that are dangerous. Everyday all across the world just being a Christian is dangerous and families have to make the hard decision as to whether they renounce Christ or risk the lives of the very people God entrusted to their care.
Too often we love the blessings more than the God that gave them. We love the promises more than the God who has every right to fulfill those promises through painful circumstances. We see it in the life of Abraham who was told he would be the father of a great nation, that he would father a son, but Abraham started loving the promise more than his God and in the end God had to make sure that Abraham still chose him. Which thankfully he did when he laid his son (the very thing God had promised) on an altar to sacrifice him (Gen 22).
So today I sit realizing that if Scott and I choose to foster, adopt, run off to some other 3rd world country that we might not have the support of all of our family in Christ. We might have those who think we are foolish or endangering our own children. Their might be those that think we will be taking away from the kids that God gave us through natural birth. But I know this.... I serve a mighty God that enables me (through his holy spirit) to LOVE BIG. A God who will walk with my family through the risky places. A God who made us in his image (Gen 1:27); the image of a God who loves the whole world, who gave his own (natural) son for the sake of something greater, who is merciful and able.We are made in that image.
And yes there are questions and yes we have things to work out in the process. Things that God equally commands us to do such as being responsible with our finances, providing for our immediate family (1Tim 5:8), teaching and equipping the children we have now. But these things are not the final product. They are the refining process in the midst of something greater. What if our finances are handled so that were able to give more, not get more? What if my kids learn about God not by the stories we read to them every night from the bible, but by living out our own story that reflects the stories in the bible? What if we impress God's commandments on our children's hearts (Deuteronomy 6) because they are already deeply impressed upon our own?
Risky is not the same as reckless and if were not careful we will associate any risk with recklessness. We will see danger on the path ahead and choose to not to walk it. Choose to live such safe lives that our families miss learning about a God that provides and protects. Miss learning about a God that called a nation (families, singles, elderly, infants) into a desert and then provided them with just enough to get by until they entered the promised land. Well our promised land is not a land of our own here on earth, but we live like it is. We live holding to old testament promises forgetting that their is a new convenant that promises something greater then a land of milk and honey. That's the promise I will hold on too. I will not limit our God by some false ideas that Ive created because Im scared. Because Im scared that if I bring a child with emotional challenges into our family that he/she may hurt one of my children. Because Im scared that if I travel into the heart of a 3rd world country that my children might not make it out alive.
See the persecution we see in the bible was meant to spread the gospel not stop it. When God persecuted them it was meant to take them further into the world, but we've used persecution as an excuse to make our lives smaller. We used moments in the bible where a person was warned not to go to a place because of a risk of danger as our own personal commandment. Instead of looking at it through God's eyes and seeing that he did that to expand the kingdom not supress it.
Honestly my greatest fear in moving forward is facing the fact that so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ might not actually be my brothers and sisters in Christ (Matt 7:21). Im afraid of risking relationships. Risking losing those closest to me who out of fear will not walk the hard path beside me. Risking losing a romantic view of my friends and family, but I will because following Christ is risky business. You risk losing not only your life, but everything you hold dear. You risk losing the faith you were raised with for true faith. You risk losing assumptions, security and your dreams.
(Go to my next post for grace for this risky business.)