Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Worth the Risk…Radical Chapter 8

I sit here tonight writing this post with my four sweet babes tucked into their own beds. Chris Tomlin is softly playing in my youngest son's room…"where the spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty" can be heard all the way down here where I sit on my super comfortable couch. I'm on my laptop while my husband works on our other computer…and both of our iPhones are close at hand. I fixed a great supper for my family and some of our friends tonight…we had family worship and jammed out to some Shai Linne and Kim Walker…and then we went over the study we are doing through Luke(awesome Study that Mark Driscoll has done). We have a good life…a real good life…I can't complain, nope not one bit. And then I read Chapter 8…

When I was in college I read Elizabeth Elliot's book "Passion for Purity". Her story was riveting…it drew me in like no other book (other than God's word) had. I began to read everything I could come across that had anything remotely to do with Jim Elliot or Elizabeth. I wanted to risk it all…just like they did. I imagined a life in the jungle…one where I would scoop up my babies out of the dirt and lay them down in our hut to go to bed. I wanted to live the life of a missionary….one who denies themselves and gives all they have to further the Gospel. But now…now I live the life that I described above…a good life…but a life far from the one I imagine as a young college girl. The question that Platt asks towards the beginning of the chapter "do we believe the reward found in Jesus is worth the risk of following Him?"…and that question stuck with me for the next 20 pages. Is it worth the risk?

If I wanted to be all spiritual in front of you few that read this, I would say "sure, whatever happens is worth the risk…just to follow Him", but I would be remiss in saying that. If I'm being honest, I think about those four sweet babes tucked in their beds upstairs and my wonderful husband in the next room, and I don't want to risk them. I don't want anything to happen to my family…it hurts my heart to even think about it. I am a mom, and by my nature I want to protect them at any length possible…when deep down I truly know that I have very little (ok absolutely nothing) to do with them being protected. I know God is in control, and then I read about how he has called us into danger. Our society would say that a loving God would never put His children in harm's way….well I beg to differ. Y.E.S. He would. As I read through this section of the book where Platt talked about how we are sheep sent out among wolves, my eyes were opened big time. Why would Jesus send His sheep into a pack of wolves? Why would He send us amongst evil…vicious people, and that be His design? To further the gospel. I read example after example of men and women being killed on the mission field…giving up their lives to just share with a people group that had never heard. It was worth the risk for them. We like to think of God's will as a comfortable place…and if there is no conflict…no tragedy…no cost…no problems, then it's for sure God's will…right? No…just the opposite…there will be conflict…tragedy…we may pay dearly…there will be road blocks, because He told us there would be. Sheep among wolves isn't safe…nope, not at all…so why do we expect our Christian life to be?

I liked to be liked. I want people that I am around to like who I am…I surely don't want someone to dislike me. Hold the phone people…I'm about to drop a bomb…the bible says we will be hated…disliked…people will stab us in the back…mock us, if we become like Jesus. We will be hated because He himself was hated. I loved the quote on page167 "to everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable, life free from danger, stay away from Jesus". It's so true when I read this, and then I think…am I hated…uncomfortable…troubled…in danger?? No…No…No…and No. Hmm…well let's see what conclusion I came up with. It seems to be that I am not enough like Jesus, because if I was then those things would be prevalent in my life. Why am I not hated? Do I conform to the people around me? Why am I not in danger? These are all questions I have been wrestling with…studying through…figuring out. Lord, help me to wade through these waters and examine my life for what it is.

"Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all things. But in the end, such risks find it's reward in Christ. And He is more than enough for us."

I am taking steps, yes, I really am. I am letting go of some fears…my husband will board a plane in the next year to a place that scares me…to do something that I believe God laid on my heart years ago…and I know…it's worth the risk!

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

I'm joining in the Radical Read Along over at www.MarlaTaviano.com. Come on over...


Chad said...

Tonight Gospel For Asia had a prayer time tonight with Elizabeth Elliot. They have it every Tuesday evening and she was a special prayer partner this evening.


Once Ric is done with that book, you ought to read it. If you like the way Radical is challenging you, you'll love "Revolution in World Missions".

Amy Bennett said...

So glad we share some of the same fears. Thanks for sharing your heart!

alittlebitograce said...

i said "me too!" to several of your statements. even though i've read my Bible plenty and know all the statements about how difficult being a Christian should be, somehow I thought i had an exemption. yeah, not so much.


Great post.
I had the great privilege as a child to know Jim Elliot and his family very well.
More recently I edited old sound recordings of his teachings and they are now available in book form (JIM ELLIOT: A Christian Martyr Speaks to You) and really display his heart for God.
May God bless you and your ministry.

Fuller said...

As American's, it is so difficult to not see the church as something there for me as opposed to seeing that I am there as part of the church, to serve God by serving others. I pray that we all are willing to put ourselves in harms way as Platt talks about in chapter 8 of Radical, but to do so wisely and carefully (See Matt 10:16)

Jessica said...

So glad I found your site! My husband and I have been reading "Radical" as well. We just finished the book tonight by reading chapter 8 (for some reason we had read chapter 9 earlier). It was so hard to read! We really struggled with taking it in and trying to swallow it down. We've been attending David Platt's church in Alabama for the past 2 years so we've heard him preach about making disciples of all nations and going on global mission trips plenty of times before.

We've been praying about, researching and discussing going overseas for a while now and finally got presented the opportunity to go to South Sudan this March. And boy, are we scared! Especially considering the current conditions over there. Civil war has plagued the country for 38 of the past 51 years. They're on the brink of another civil war starting and attacks have been increasing again lately that could be termed genocide. We were already nervous about going, but we felt called by God (and convicted by Jesus' commands in the Bible) to go.

As we get closer to our departure, we're even more scared. We haven't doubted God's plan for us to go, but we've been asking ourselves all the "what ifs." I guess God saw our fear and decided to lead us to read Chapter 8 tonight. We're left shaken by all the difficult questions of what it really means to follow after Christ and live for the purpose of furthering God's kingdom.

Like you said, I'm afraid of everything that's at stake here. I have a full, blessed, wonderful life. I don't want my husband of 1 year to die. I'm not ready to die! There's so much more life I want to live with him and I want us to have children one day. I want to be a mother and accomplish so much more for God's kingdom among young girls and women here in the US. But i'm left with the challenge: Is Jesus worth risking it all? Is Jesus worth sacrificing my very life for? Will I fear God and the fact that He holds my eternity in His hands more than I fear men who can only kill my earthly body? Will I trust in my God that He is Sovereign and good? Do I have more love for these unreached people who have never heard the gospel or about their Savior Jesus Christ than I have for myself and my family? Will I keep loving earth as my home or look forward to an eternity worshiping my Lord in His presence in our real home? Do I love God more than my husband, our families, our future plans?

These are such hard questions to ask ourselves. My flesh wants to rebel against Jesus' commands and run away from danger. But my Spirit is leading me to into the diseased and dangerous places for the sake of winning hearts over to God. We have to lean on all the comforting and encouraging Scriptures that say not to be afraid or overcome by fear for God is with us and His love is enough. The world and everything in it is fading away, but a relationship with Him lasts forever. That's why it's so important to go and tell people who are lost and dying that their Creator loves them and His Son can rescue them, if not from earthly troubles, then from an eternity separated from their heavenly Father.