“What keeps pushing you to grow closer to the Lord?” questioned my student as we sat across from each other at the college café.
My initial response was “pain.” C. S. Lewis describes it well when he writes God whispers to us in our pleasures but shouts to us in our pain. Suffering has a way of separating the petty from the important, especially when our tears are soaking the carpet.
Yet something else, something broader, propels my spiritual growth even more. That something: RISK. The times in my life when I’ve been willing to take a risk has fostered the deepest spiritual growth—even when the risk results in pain. Every risk brings with it the opportunity to fail, and fail greatly. But also the chance to experience fulfillment we would otherwise never have known. I’ve had my share of both.
My husband and I took a risk over forty years ago when we felt the Lord direct us to pack up all our possessions, board a stand-by flight to Luxembourg, and find our way to a Christian community, L’Abri, in the Swiss Alps. We took another risk when Chip accepted the call to pastor a small group of people. Risk was involved when we had children, when I decided to write and publish a book, when we opened our home to others. Despite the many ups and downs, I have no regrets about the risks. God has used them to stretch, shape and fit me into his plan.
I recently heard a man refer to the “wild purposeful life God wants us to live.” To that I say, “Count me in.” That doesn’t mean we’re to throw all caution to the wind for the sake of adventure. Nothing spiritual about that. The kind of risk-taking that results in a closer walk with the Lord comes through responding to his voice.
I don’t know where you are with risk, but when (not if) God calls you to walk on some water, go for it. Keep walking on the water every time Jesus says, “Come.” And if your faith is too weak to walk, swim. If you can’t swim, doggie-paddle. Don’t be afraid to risk going a little deeper.