Friday, February 20, 2009

Safe or Brave?

Today I’m asking myself: what is my ultimate goal for my life? Do I want to live in comfort, secure and successful in the eyes of the world? Or do I want to be brave, choosing to lose all of those things in order to truly follow the words of Jesus?

“Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.”

- Luke 9:24

I am reading Gary Haugen’s book, Just Courage, and he is speaking to my heart of hearts. Gary is the founder of the International Justice Mission (IJM), a non-profit group of Christian lawyers who have chosen to forsake the comfort and security of their profession to use their skills to fight for the freedom of modern-day slaves and child sex workers.

In the last chapter of his book, he says:

Sometimes we have to decide: Are we going to love, or are we going to look smart? Because loving the needy doesn’t look smart. And, sadly, in much of our culture this is one of our deepest fears: looking like a fool, naïve, unsophisticated, a little too earnest, a loser.

The fact is, when people choose to be brave instead of smart, their courage is generally so threatening to those who are smart rather than brave that they end up being maligned, not congratulated. That is what the Bible says we can expect.

The will of God is scary because he is asking us to choose between a life that looks successful and a life that is actually significant, between a life that wins the applause of our peers and a life that actually transforms lives through love.

I am all too aware that adopting an African child is not a smart or safe idea in the eyes of many who surround me. There are all kinds of risks: we are going to gather lots of stares; our family will never just “fit in” anymore; we may not be welcome in some places anymore; we don’t know what physical or emotional problems he might be faced with and how that will affect our family; we don’t know if he will reject us someday. And if this all doesn’t work out neatly and tidily, we risk being embarrassed. There were plenty that warned us of all the risks…and now look at what we’ve gone and done to our family.

But I have to ask the question: When I get to the end of my life, what will I wish that I had done? I have two choices.

1 - To take the safer route that will allow us to blend in and maintain the acceptance of our peers.

2 - To be brave and follow with all our hearts what we understand to be the call of Jesus: to minister to the needy, the broken, the orphan.

I can’t bear the thought of reaching 60 years of age, and looking back on my life and thinking, “What if we had done what we were afraid to do? What we felt like God was calling us to do, but we were just a little to nervous about it?” Oh, Lord, may it never be so! We MUST pursue this adoption. I know that if we do it, we will never be the same. And also if we do not do it, we will never be the same. Either way we will be changed, and I am seeking the changes that will come from obedience, not fear.

So there you go. Choosing to be brave means choosing to not be safe. I admit that I am afraid. I have a list of fears. But I don’t let them control me. I am clinging to the promises of Jesus. I want to live a life of faith, adventure, and a deeper knowledge of Him.

1 comment:

Kim said...

What a powerful post. Found your blog via Kristi J. Look forward to following your journey!