Tag Archive | risk

What are you afraid of?…

shutterstock_122636083

As I was reading my Bible this morning, I read the words spoken by Jesus to His disciples in John chapter 16, verse 11: “God has already judged the ruler of this world”.

I realised with greater clarity than I’ve had before, that in populating the world, our Lord created a democracy. He created a democracy because He is a benevolent Father, who wants us to go out into the world as loved children, and return to Him because we love Him rather than because we have no choice.

Sadly, no democracy would be a democracy without other, less reputable alternatives seizing the opportunity to stand for election, and the world has chosen a more subtle, more deceptive king. One whose lies and self interest can only harm us.

But nonetheless, He was voted in, and for the moment we’re stuck with him.

He continues to be voted in by the masses, and He likes to blame the world’s problems on the previous government (familiar?). Fortunately, his rule will be temporary.

But while we live in this world, we will shutterstock_566788609all suffer in one way or another at his hands.

I have always seen myself as some kind of reluctant rebel against the Father, longing to obey, but regularly mucking things up. Now I realise that the real rebels are those of us who are living under the dominion of the earthly king, but who are fighting in our rebel army to restore our rightful King, Jesus Christ.

And that is a daily rebellion that takes bravery. Possibly more than many of us believe we could ever have.

When I look at myself and ask myself whether I am brave, I have to say the answer would be a resounding ‘NO!’.

I am pathetically wobbly when presented with such harmless individuals as slugs and snails; I avoid heights, hate deep water, go weak at the impending possibility of pain, and fly from difficult conversations or necessary confrontations at every opportunity.

But somehow, as I grow older, I’m finding that I am developing something I would call courage. It helps me to do the right thing in the heat of the moment, and it is based entirely on trust in God and the presence of the Holy Spirit. I find that in moments of anxiety or fear, I need only ask for the courage to trust Him.

corrie-ten-boomCorrie Ten Boom, author of ‘The Hiding Place’, who, along with other family members, helped many Jews escape from the Nazi Holocaust during world war II, famously related a conversation that took place between her and her father when she was a little girl. “Daddy,” she had said one day, “I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.”
“Tell me,” said her father, “when you take a train trip from Haarlem to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?”
“No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.”
“That’s right,” he replied, “and so it is with God’s strength. Our wise Father in heaven knows when you are going to need things too. Today you do not need the strength to be a martyr. But as soon as you are called upon for the honour of facing death for Jesus, He will supply the strength you need—just in time.”
It’s strange – for me, the word ‘brave’ might be associated with the young and foolhardy. I might associate it with diving off cliffs into the crashing waves below or attempting to fly with the aid of nothing more than bamboo and canvas. Bear Grylls is brave; Andrew White is brave. Or I might associate it with my mother exhorting me to “be brave” just before an injection when I was a child – I learnt to focus very hard on something else in the room as the needle went in.

If you have given your life to Christ, then you have joined the ranks of rebel warriors who are seeking to restore the world to its rightful King. You may be like me, with your own areas of wobbliness and timidity, but I would strongly encourage you that keeping your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, allowing the Holy Spirit to fill you and flow through you, will ensure that you are every bit as brave as you ever need to be.

Me, brave? Never.

Learning to trust? Absolutely.

Life begins 2

Come on! Jump! …

One of my favourite games, when my son James was small, was to get him to jump, or ‘tip off’ small distances, from a chair, table, side of a swimming pool, in fact, anywhere a little bit higher than me, so that I could catch him. It is a delightful game of trust, that has been played by parents, with their children, down through the entire history of parenthood.

Tip off.jpgInitially, the risk taken by the child is small, as they tip gently, on much coaxing, into our outstretched hands. But gradually, as their confidence grows, they will leap with abandon from all sorts of inappropriate places, leaving us begging that they would ‘Please!! Check that I’m looking before you jump!’.
I remember the first time that God asked me to do something that involved an element of perceived risk on my part. I was attending church, about half way through a service, and I felt that I was being prompted to go up to a complete stranger and give her a ‘word of knowledge’. I was to tell her that God knew how excluded and isolated she felt, and that He wanted her to know how precious she was to Him, that He wanted her to ‘come in from the cold’, and to learn just how loved and wanted she was.

I was terrified. One of my biggest fears has always been about making a fool of myself, and sticking my neck out to speak where my words might be wholly unwanted absolutely terrified me. As the service came to a close, I had asked for all sorts of confirmations that I really had heard His voice, and wasn’t just inventing the instruction in my fanciful head; I made all kinds of excuses as to why I shouldn’t do it and I worked hard in my mind to ignore the persistent voice, sending me where I didn’t want to go.

But hard as I tried, the prompting wouldn’t go away.

In desperation, I asked the Lord to get the young woman to look as though she was waiting for someone to speak to her, and to give me an easy opportunity to go and talk to her. Ultimately, I knew that the persistent urging wasn’t going to go away, and I didn’t like the idea of going home with the knowledge that I hadn’t passed on an important message.shutterstock_377273392

Obeying the call felt like jumping off a cliff to certain disaster; but watching her face light up, hearing her tell me of her broken relationship, struggle as a single parent, and how she’d come to church that night, not really expecting to be welcomed – and then, her joy at being given that message at the end of the service, was, for me, like being caught in a safe, loving embrace just as I reached terminal velocity.

I don’t know whether I was put there for her that night, to bring comfort and love, or whether she was put there for me to start growing my embryonic faith. All I do know is that the joy resulting from that little step of faith, and other moments like it as my life has progressed, is joy quite unlike anything else I have ever experienced.

Since then, I’ve been encouraged to take all sorts of ‘risks’, in terms of saying or doing things, and thus being God’s hands here on earth. I have often persisted in that same initial reluctance, followed by a rather wobbly step of faith; I now realise that the best way to become sure of God is by taking those very moves into unknown territory, where He gets the opportunity to back us up, and thus enables us to do amazing things. My faith continues to grow.

Each time that we tip off the table into His arms, our bond of trust grows and flourishes in the certainty of His love, until, eventually, like Todd White, Robbie Dawkins and Jackie Pullinger, among numerous others throughout history, we learn to take giant leaps of faith across the craggy rocks of life, and we become mighty warriors in Jesus Christ.

The story behind our single ‘Tip Off The Table’ from the album Fear, Secrets and Lies due out 18th November 2016.