Putting an IS between a R and a K

I inch my way across the platform which stands 10 meters above the surface of the water, my toes feeling the edge.  I look down, inhaling. Deeply.  I pause, wondering if the risk is too great.  I muster up every ounce of courage within and take one small step that sends me spiraling downward, downward, downward into the clear blue.  I come up for air, water bubbling around me.  I shake my head to rid myself of the adrenaline and let out a call reminiscent of an Indian victory chant.  I feel untouchable, for I have conquered the jump.

That was twelve years ago.  When a dare was something to be taken, when a risk greatly raised excitement levels.  When I longed to forge boldly into the unknown, just to see what could be found.

While I still love a great adrenaline rush, I am not quite the risk-taker I once was.  Caution has replaced some of the daring within me, responsibility sometimes overrides risk.

But I never want to live my life void of risk.

I heard Ravi Zacharias throw out a closing quote in one of his sermons this summer that has been mulling around in my head since I heard it. He was speaking to a group of young adults and strongly encouraging (a stronger verb would work better, but I can’t think of one) them to put “all of their eggs in one basket” when it comes to who you trust, the Savior of the world, and how you live out your life with those around you.  His final words were those that stuck with me:  “The greatest of human gifts are set to work only when people are prepared to risk everything.”

So risking brings about the things that are valuable, huh?  Think about what you consider valuable.  Was getting that thing of great value a risk? Is keeping it a risk?  I think of the parable of the pearl of great price, or the man who finds a field, or even the risk the father took on the prodigal son.  As I ponder what I count valuable, I find that each item certainly holds its own risk.

And then I think of this: Christ risked it all for the plan of redemption.

So, could we say that we are being like Christ when we take risks?

I’m not talking about high dives and bungee jumping here (although some could argue that there’s something there, who knows?), but what about taking a financial risk to help another in need?  Or risking your reputation to follow a seemingly odd dream that God placed in your heart.  Or risking hurt by allowing hope to stay alive in an unmet desire.  Or, what I think can be the hardest of all, risking rejection and pain by opening your heart in relationship with those around you.

You name it, if it is valuable, it is risky.

A few months ago I planned to take my crew of 8th and 9th graders to Tallulah Gorge State Park.  We signed our lives away on these scary little yellow slips that acknowledged that we knew the risks of hiking on a gorge floor.  Every motherly instinct within me flew to the surface as I saw the rocky path that zig-zagged across raging waters.  I was ready to turn the whole crew around; it looked way too risky.  But with promises of help from the dads that were on the trip and 15 pleading sets of eyes, we went on.  We helped each other over slippery rocks, we scrambled up rock ledges, and we held tightly to outstretched hands that helped us stay on the tiny path right beside the river.

And we had So. Much. Fun.

Was it safe?  Not always.  Was it risky?  Certainly, (but so is driving your car).  Was it fun?  Absolutely.   Will we soon forget it?  Not a chance.

So where in my life might God be asking me to take a risk?  Where might He be asking you to risk it all?

I’m pretty sure we’d be better for answering that call.

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