Why You Should Take A Risk
He called me from Waterloo Bridge overlooking Parliament. It was 9:15 EST. Way too early for the viva to be done, which was to begin at 8 am EST. As I answered “Hello (from the other side),” the words, “I passed” scrambled over line.
Silence. And then all I heard was a torrent of sobs. Tears of joy flowed as Tim recounted to me one of the most profound moments of his life.
The examiners had found his work unique. The ending was all that we had hoped it would be. This 6’1’’ man stood weeping over Waterloo Bridge as the emotions of it all overcame him. He heard the words, “Well done”, and the adventure was applauded. The risk was rewarded.
I’ve never been one to take huge risks. I guess that’s why life would have it I married a risk-taker. When we were ready to move to England and the second offer on our house fell through one week before we were to leave, I sat curled up in a ball on our couch crying. Meanwhile Tim prayed to God, “You’re going to have to do better than this.”
The greater the risk, the greater the adventure for my husband. I often shrink from risk, he runs to it.
But slowly I’m starting to discover all the beauty that is waiting when we live a life of risk. When we do things we might not otherwise do. When we listen to that still, small voice that whispers, “Go. Do. Be.”
Often when we are willing to go against the voice of culture, we find wonder that we would not have discovered otherwise. We may find ourselves singing a new song, living a different dream, or even moving to a new land. There is adventure to be found when we are willing to take a risk.
The Power Behind Risk
Last week I came upon an inspiring passage in Scripture of someone willing to take a risk. I’ve heard the story of Mount Carmel and fire from heaven numerous times. But this time, something different stood out to me. Elijah was actually a risk taker. He risked his very neck by being willing to appear before King Ahab.
In I Kings 18 the Lord told Elijah to go and present himself before King Ahab, the very man who was trying to kill him. Obadiah, a devoted follower of the LORD as well as the man in charge of Ahab’s palace, ran into Elijah one day when King Ahab sent him out to try to find grass in order to save some of the king's horses and mules. The drought was so severe Ahab was afraid his own livestock would die.
When Obadiah ran into Elijah and recognized him, he immediately fell to the ground before him. Obadiah recognized that he was in the presence of a man of God. Elijah then asked Obadiah to go and tell King Ahab that Elijah was here.
But Obadiah refused, terrified that Ahab would kill him as “the king has searched every nation and kingdom on earth from end to end to find you” (verse 10).
Elijah’s response is inspiring. Rather than fearing the king, He fears God. Elijah responded in verse 15, “I swear by the LORD Almighty, in whose presence I stand, that I will present myself to Ahab this very day.”
Elijah took a major risk. He went and presented himself before King Ahab in person. He thought less about the risk and more about the One in Whose Presence He stood.
A life of risk is a life lived in the Presence of the LORD. When we know that He is with us we find supernatural strength to risk all that we have, all that we are, all that might be.
The Result of Risk
It was because of the risk Elijah was willing to take that we have one of the greatest contests this world has ever known. On Mount Carmel, Elijah demonstrated that Yahweh was God in Israel and “that You have brought them back to Yourself.”
When we risk, the Lord brings us back to Himself.
We encounter God, rather than just knowing about Him. He is no longer a God on paper but a God living among us. A terrifying presence, Who woos us to Him so that we might know Him.
In The Myth of Certainty Dan Taylor notes that, “The goal of faith is not to create a set of immutable, rationalized, precisely defined and defendable beliefs to preserve forever. It is to recover a relationship with God.”
Risk helps us to recover our relationship with God, bringing us back to Himself.
Risk is also a catalyst for worship. “And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, ‘The LORD--he is God! Yes, the LORD is God!”(v.39)
Risk will often put us in a posture of falling facedown. So often when we come to the end of ourselves and take that step of faith, the result of God showing up plants us facedown before Him. There is nothing left to do but worship.
A life of risk is a life lived facedown.
Take a Risk
We are all invited into the adventure of living life a bit differently, taking a risk for the sake of the cross. Your risk may look totally different than mine. But it is there nonetheless. The life of faith is a life that involves risk. But too often we don’t embrace the offer of the great adventure.
We retreat from the unknown, and cling to security.
We care more about our image, and what others think of us, then living as ragamuffins.
We want a faith that is tame, not wild and full of terror.
We fear a life of risk.
But again Dan Taylor says, “Risk ... is indispensable to any significant life.”
Those who live significant lives are willing to take risks.
I take heart in the fact that soon after Elijah was willing to risk his life, he became afraid of losing his life once again. In the very next chapter, I Kings 19, Jezreel threatens to kill Elijah by the very next day for killing all her prophets of Baal. Verse three says that “Elijah was afraid and fled for his life.”
Some days we are stronger than others. One moment we are crying on the couch the next pressing onward. But all it takes is that one step of faith. That one ounce of courage willing to take a risk. To go, do, be what He is calling us to.
May we open our eyes to new possibilities. Dream the impossible. Run to risk. And maybe, in the end, perhaps we find a presence so real we fall facedown and worship.