13 October, 2017

Risk-taking, or not

I don't see myself as a great risk taker. I like to plan and the prepare for possible risks. I don't like taking physical risks (and less so as I get older). I don't like taking financial risks. I've never taken out a large loan, never bought property. I like stability. I like predictability, within reason. I like Japan because it feels safe. Even though we have the threat of earthquakes and  volcanoes, of nuclear missiles, it still feels pretty safe compared to many countries God could have sent us to.

But some people, looking at me and my life would consider that I am a risk taker. After all, living on what people give is a risk, isn't it? Choosing to raise my family in another country is a risk, one would think. Deciding that I'm willing to follow where God leads me, that's risky too—on the surface. But I don't feel this so often. Maybe because God's led us to a place where he's kept us for a lengthy period of time (in missionary terms, we've been at CAJ for twelve and a half years and in this house for eight of those). Maybe what we're doing has become so normal to us that we don't notice that others might feel the risk.

Really, the biggest risk factor I feel regularly in this lifestyle is investing in friendships. They are one of the least stable things in my life and one of the things that I value highly. Investing in friends is risky because I don't know how long I will have that friend. I know the pain of having many absent friends. Leaving Australia the first time was hard, but leaving it again and again is, possibly, harder. Then the friends I make here also have a tendency to leave!

I really enjoyed camping with friends this week. We've only known them for 2 and a bit years, but I was tempted to think, "Wouldn't it be great if we could go camping with these guys when all our kids have left home . . . " but I nipped that one quickly. That's about 11 years away, and I can't count on them still being here in 11 years. It seems as though we might be here in 11 years, but only God knows.

However, I've been reminded several times this week that I don't need to be afraid. That really, it is just from my limited perspective that things are uncertain. Nothing catches God by surprise, nothing is out of his control. Though we might question what he's doing, that's a human perspective problem. And God is with us through whatever things we fear that come about. But fearing them is not drawing us closer to go, in fact it does the opposite.

These words from the hymn Amazing Grace were brought to my attention in a sermon this week:
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,And grace my fears relieved;
When we know God (and 'fear' him in terms of being in complete awe of him), our fears of anything else are taken away. I know that that's never completely true till we're in heaven, but —as we grow in our faith and fear of God—our fear of other things gradually dissipates.  
There is no fear in love. But perfect love [i.e. God's love] drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18 NIV)
This post was inspired by the theme of Risk on Velvet Ashes' prompt: The Grove and this article specifically. And here's another post on risk in relationships on the mission field, though differently slanted to mine.

1 comment:

Davis Family said...

I pray the verse you quoted over my husband daily. I think when we come to a place of perfect love, anything we do feels riskless. We know God is with us. It doesn't mean things are perfect, but that place of intimacy in his love sustains us.