Life and other catastrophes · Relating to God · Spiritual growth and healing

Taking safe risks

My family had a day at the beach recently, and our boys enjoyed climbing over its large rocks.
It occurred to me that we didn’t just step blindly onto them as if they were soft sand. We assessed each one for its stability, and whether it was big enough to hold our entire body without it tipping over. We assessed, then stepped, assessed, then stepped again. It was a conscious, considered exercise requiring strategy and control. But even if it looked stable, there were no guarantees. We took something of a risk each time…

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But there’s a big difference between risking ourselves on rocks close to the ground, than, say, walking across a tightrope without a net. Because even if we fall, we won’t fall far. It’s risk within safe boundaries.
Life involves varying degrees of risk, and whether or not we tackle that ‘next big thing’ will depend on our degree of trust that things will work out OK. Some of us impulsively test out everything that comes our way, without fear of failure. Others refuse to take the first step in any area.
A serious relationship with God often leads to radical life changes and actions the rest of the world views as risky. But the paradox is that, when we’re in harmony with God, there are no real risks. Yes, we will make mistakes, but God won’t. He’ll take us on the journey we’re meant to go on. We can completely trust him in life and death.
It pays to assess the risk factors in our decisions, but we can make every decision knowing we trust in a sovereign God – our ultimate ‘safe boundary’. We just have to listen for his voice, and trust he will show us the way.

Proverbs 3 includes these words:

” Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

And The Message paraphrase has this to say:

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!”

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12 thoughts on “Taking safe risks

  1. “A serious relationship with God often leads to radical life changes and actions the rest of the world views as risky. But the paradox is that, when we’re in harmony with God, there are no real risks.”
    How I needed to hear that this morning, Ali! Thanks so much. God used your post!

  2. Hi Ali.
    Thanks for this post on risk. There is always or should be an element of risk when we step out and do new things or step out and trust God. But I liked what you said about risk,

    A serious relationship with God
    often leads to radical life changes
    and actions the rest of the world
    views as risky. But the paradox is
    that, when we’re in harmony with
    God, there are no real risks. Yes, we
    will make mistakes, but God won’t.
    He’ll take us on the journey we’re
    meant to go on. We can completely
    trust him in life and death.

    It’s a new way of thinking. It’s a challenging thought. Challenging in the sense that I need to make sure I am walking in harmony with God…..

    Can you please expound on what you mean when you wrote,

    A serious relationship with God
    often leads to radical life changes
    and actions the rest of the world
    views as risky. But the paradox is
    that, when we’re in harmony with
    God, there are no real risks.

    I have an idea of what I think you mean but I just want to make sure I am on the right track…

    Rolain

    1. Hey Rolain, I’m glad it was thought-provoking.
      I can see how the wording might be confusing there however.
      If I can rephrase slightly…
      As you say, everything carries with it a degree of ‘risk’ by the world’s standards – e.g. failure, rejection from others, injury, or at worst, death. Risk, by definition, is “a situation involving exposure to danger.”
      There is always the possibility of danger – even just the act of getting out of bed makes us vulnerable in a sense.
      We could allow this to scare us, or we could choose instead to trust that God is in control and has a plan. And when we are close to him, we are not invincible to danger, nor are we promised that God won’t allow hard things to happen at times… but we are assured of his comfort, wisdom, guidance, presence, and ultimately that we are coming home to him even if we do die.
      So I would probably rephrase that sentence to:
      “When we’re in harmony with God, we need not fear anything.” If we take our minds to the ‘worst case scenario’ – which we would probably agree is physical death, the actual reality is new life – in heaven with him. “to die is gain” etc. If we are his children, we need never fear separation from him – so in a sense life is not a risk because we are 100% safe with him – not in any danger.
      Certainly bad things do happen, and it’s a battle not to give into fear of danger. But we have his spiritual protection and the end is in sight.
      I guess to summarise, what does a harmonious relationship with God look like? One where we trust him, no matter the outcome, and we refuse to give in to fear (which is from the evil one) and courageously obey him, knowing that the worst thing that could happen is not actually the worst thing that could happen. What, really, have we got to lose by stepping out?

  3. Great post! On the surface, it may seem that we’re being called to do something that is not safe risk. I hadn’t really thought about it, but the perception that the leap is too big is brought about by our trust not being strong enough. Thanks for making me think on this today.

    1. I’m glad it was thought-provoking, Janna. Yes I think risk is subjective in a sense. But safety in the eternal sense is guaranteed if we are God’s children… We may as well seek to live fearlessly! 

  4. I will forever trust Him.He is faithful and He changes not.

  5. Hey Ali
    I understand totally…..Thanks for making it clear. I loved when you talked about “the worst case scenario”! Death seems so final but it really signifies new life!!!!! I never saw it this way. What an amazing thought….I am at peace knowing that my life is in God’s hands and even as I step out in faith God is there for me. He won’t abandon me……
    Bless you

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