By April De Haan
I’ve never been one to jump outside of my comfort zone very quickly. I like to stay where things are “safe” and where I don’t have to take much of a risk. I prefer to stay in familiar places, be with people I know well, and eat food that I know I like. This summer I realized that my spiritual life and relationship with Christ were also stuck in the safety of my comfort zone.
Up until this point, my life goal was to become a music teacher, teach somewhere in the Midwest (which is my home), and hopefully start a family. Not that any of these things are bad, but where was Christ in it? I started to ask myself this, and then I read a book titled “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper. The entire book was incredible, but the chapter that stood out to me the most was titled “Risk is Right–Better to Lose Your Life than to Waste It.” Wow. Even that title was convicting.
As I read through, I learned that scripture had this message woven into it all over the place. Think about the story of the spies going into Canaan from Numbers 13-14. Twelve spies went into the land and ten of them came back saying, “It’s too risky,” even when God had clearly called them to go into that land. Piper describes that the result of these ten spies’ decision was hundreds of wasted lives. I’ve always read this story and thought that they were crazy to not follow God’s will and trust him in the risk, but how many times have I said that to God?
How could God possibly be asking me to do this with my career or start a conversation with that person or change my major to that? It’s much too risky. But that is the opposite of what God calls us to do. His will for our lives is surely going to include risk, because taking risks is how we make much of his name, and shouldn’t that be our goal as Christians? That being said, taking risks is still terrifying.
Something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is potentially teaching in a big city outside the Midwest instead of teaching near home when I graduate college. Would that be a risk? Absolutely. I would be far away from home and family, with people and places and situations I’m very unfamiliar with…but if going to a big city is what God is wanting me to do in order to make His name known, then taking that risk would be right. And while God does not promise success or safety or comfort when we take risks, he does promise that his love will triumph in the end.
Piper states that “on the far side of every risk—even if it results in death—the love of God triumphs. This is the faith that frees us to risk for the cause of God. It is not heroism, or lust for adventure, or courageous self-reliance, or efforts to earn God’s favor. It is childlike faith in the triumph of God’s love—that on the other side of all our risks, for the sake of righteousness, God will still be holding us. We will be eternally satisfied in him. Nothing will have been wasted.”