Thursday, June 29, 2017

Week Twenty-Six - Extreme Sports

Beside the Well

               Have you seen the videos of web-suited people jumping off mountains in Norway and navigating the air currents above the fjords?   I’d love to think I could do that, but someone would have to push me off!  Then I’d probably scream all the way down and forget to enjoy the trip!
               As I was reading a devotion book by Emilie Barnes she said, “As with any talent, we must be willing to be used.  Yes, there is a risk, but its worth the insecurity to find out how far God can take us if we are willing…Life is not boring when you have a purpose.” (p 64)
               Those webbed jumpers are taking an extreme risk.  They are trusting the currents to hold them as they glide ever downward.  But they probably weigh the risk against the experience and think it well worth it.  I don’t know if they have any other purpose in life than to seek thrills, but I am sure their adrenaline is surging!
               My life isn’t lived on such an adrenaline rush, but that doesn’t stop me seeing the futility and endless boredom of a life without purpose.  I hate that feeling of being in a rut with no end in sight. 
However, life with a purpose is demanding.  It requires me to use my talents for His glory.  Or, at least to be willing to give it a go.  Insecurity cries out for self-protection.  I don’t want to be embarrassed or fail.  I don’t want to make a mistake and hurt someone.  Those thoughts are entirely self-centered.  They are not God centered. 
Take a risk?  Oh, my! Too often I find myself stuck between being the poor guy who buries his talent in the ground and the risk taker who plunges himself into following God’s will.  I’m not really a brave soul.  I would rather stay inside my four walls and live a secluded life.  But sometimes God’s will takes me out of my comfort zone.  Sometimes I have to be a risk-taker for God.  I have to hazard myself for the sake of the Gospel or others.  I must step out by faith and soar with the current of the Spirit if I am to fulfil the purpose God has for my life.
               Experience has taught me to step out for God.  Why then do I still come to roadblocks on the path of His will?  Why do I shudder with fear or doubt when I am faced with something new? 
I have learned that the blessing is always on the other side of obedience. Each step is just another step of obedience and a building step of my faith.  If I stand at the parapet of the mount and fail to cast myself into the current of His winds, I will never mount up with wings like an eagle.  I will never know the security and thrill of deep abiding faith.  The fear of risk, the fear of insecurity and the unknown will keep me clutching to tangible things and I will never soar by faith.
               I once read, and have never forgotten: “Nothing before, nothing behind; the steps of faith fall on the seeming void and find The Rock beneath” (JGW).
No boredom there!  Only a purposeful challenge—like extreme sports—keeping up with Jesus means taking the plunge and learning to soar!

Barnes, Emilie, 15 Minutes Alone with God, Harvest House Publisher, Eugene, Oregon1994.
Whittier, John Greenleaf,, February 25, 2008

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