PT4: Risky Business
Updated: Jan 1
"Faith" is the fuel that all spiritual gifts need to run on.
My mentor has often said that the word faith is spelled r-i-s-k. Without faith/risk it is impossible to please God. When we initiated faithful behavior we have somehow entered the land of God.
(Love sits at the base of faith, undergirding it, promoting it, and motivating it. But we're talking about faith here.)
When we willfully engage in participating with the activity of God through the gift of tongues, or any gift for that matter, it is risky business. Why? We have intentionally placed ourselves in a situation where we are in big trouble if God doesn't bail us out.
Such is the Life.
The promise we have is that if he calls us, he will meet us. And that is virtually unknown, vaguely understood, this side of the decision to jump. In his wisdom, God has chosen to fully appear only after we have chosen to fully engage.
When I was a kid I was bored out of my mind in an Economics class. I looked across the room and saw a woman who struck me because of a great amount of sadness I sensed in her eyes. Class after class I saw it, was even grieved by it. Through the course of the semester I found myself asking God about her, and the source of her pain. On the very last day of class I was sitting on a bench directly across the walkway from the door, waiting - scared to death at the real probability of me (a long-haired, t-shirted Jesus Freak) making a first contact to a complete stranger (a sophisticated, perfumed, and heavily jeweleried woman of significance). I sat on the bench cringing each time the door opened and a student emerged from taking the final exam.
"God," I pleaded. "I don't want to talk to her. But if it's your will, you'll have her come out of that door and walk right up to me."
The door opened. She was the last one to emerge from the class. She scooted across the hallway, her high heels clicking all the way, and stopped at my feet, as if an angel had taken her by the collar and dropped her at my feet.
"That was a hard test," she laughed awkwardly, filling the uncomfortable moment with words.
"May I talk to you?" I gulped.
I saw she was holding keys. "May I walk you to your car?"
As we got out to her car she leaned against the hood, her books secured to her chest. "What can I do for you?"
I awkwardly shared that I was a follower of Jesus and sometimes he shows me stuff about others that would bring them closer to him.
"Because he loves us," I added.
"Jesus?" She at once copped an attitude, eyes widening with skepticism. "And what is it that you think God wants me to know?"
I swallowed hard. The words I were about to put out there were perhaps the riskiest words I have ever said, before or since then.
"I believe God is saying that your aborted baby forgives you."
She gasped. Her demeanor dropped as if someone hit her in the stomach. After some composure, she placed her books on the hood of her car and stared deeply into the parking lot. She was genuinely struck by the words.
"Is it true?" I questioned. "About your abortion, that is?"
"It's true." She pulled a tissue from her purse. "But that's not all."
Nothing could have prepared me for what she would then say. "
You see just last week another person came to me out of the blue and said these same words to me. That my baby forgives me."
"I think he's a boy."
"That's what he said, too."
A surge of peace flooded my heart. I was both relieved that I hadn't made a fool out of myself, but more-so filled with awe with the presence of God, and the joy of being a significant player in his mysterious ways.
I stepped back from the car and smiled. I had done my part.
"Well," I sighed, nodding my head with a gentle encouragement. "I looks as if he's trying to tell you something."
I got back to my dorm that night and rejoiced at the thrill of being used in such a dynamic way. I even asked for more opportunities! I had stepped out into a scary place, and he met me. Not so much for me. But for a precious lamb who he longed to draw close to his breast.
Jesus, you are quick to run to the rescue of your sheep. May we be a part of that rescue, in anyway you choose. When we are faithful in little, you give us more to be faithful - or, risky - in. So we pray you'd increase in us greater faith to step into the invisible world, so to usher your saving grace to those, known and unknown, in the world around us. Amen.