“Surely, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation”
Isaiah 12:2-3, NIV
Imagine you’re on Jeopardy in a close match with your two co-contestants. You choose your next category and see the Double Jeopardy sign. This is your chance! You can “risk it all, Alex” and go for a true Double Jeopardy, thereby leaving your opponents impossibly behind when you answer correctly. Or, you can play it safe, and risk only a minor amount; you wouldn’t gain much, but you wouldn’t lose much either.
What would you do? Are you a risk-taker or a play-it-safe kind of person?
I know what I would do. I’d wager about $200 and pinch myself later if I knew the answer to the question. That’s one reason you’ll never see me on Jeopardy. That and the fact I know almost nothing about sports, pop culture, geography and tons of other things. Oh, and I freeze up under pressure. I’m not really Jeopardy champion material.
Since I’m not a risk-taker, it frightens me when God asks me to take bold steps of faith and follow Him in obedience as we travel into the unknown. It’s too . . . well, risky! What if I get lost? What if I don’t survive? What if I heard God wrong? What if I get embarrassed? What if God doesn’t provide? What if I’m not successful?
This is one of those “kaleidescope moments” in our faith walk. These classic toys seem almost magical at times. You hold a simple tube up to the light and the mosaic of colors inside shines and flashes in a beautiful pattern. With one simple twist, the colors fall into a new pattern—still beautiful, but now so very different.
God sometimes needs to give our perspective a little twist, so that we see from His eyes. The new pattern will be beautiful and oh so very different from what we’ve seen before.
Even when God calls us out into the unknown, even when He asks us to stop playing it safe, even when He asks us to follow obediently before the plan is revealed, even when He asks us to do something that sounds crazy, even when He asks us to do something different than everyone around us . . . even then, there really isn’t anything risky about following God. That’s because no matter where God takes us, He walks by our side and His promises remain true.
We don’t have to take a risk. Instead, we can enjoy what Kay Arthur calls “the rest of faith,” when we unite “the Word of God with faith for a particular situation.” Psalm 91 promises us that “those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1, NIV). That’s a shift in our perspective; a new way to look at God’s call on our lives.
Paul demonstrated this rest of faith while he was a prisoner on a ship at sea that was caught in a terrible storm. “The next day, as gale-force winds continued to batter the ship, the crew began throwing the cargo overboard. The following day they even took some of the ship’s gear and threw it overboard. The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone” (Acts 27:19-20, NIV).
Everyone had lost hope–except Paul. He rested in faith. God had told Paul previously that he would travel to Rome and preach Christ there. No storm could prevent God from fulfilling His promise. That night on the ship, God reconfirmed His plan by sending an angel who said “‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.” Paul announced to those on the ship, “So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said” (Acts 27: 24-25, NIV).
Even with these assurances from Paul, the sailors were frightened and tried to abandon ship. Wouldn’t you?
When Paul confronted them and said, “You will all die unless the sailors stay aboard,” they amazingly listened to his assurances and “cut the ropes to the lifeboat and let it drift away.” Later, Paul told these men who had not eaten for two weeks, to eat and strengthen themselves. Scripture tells us, “Everyone was encouraged and began to eat” and then, in a true display of faith, “the crew lightened the ship further by throwing the cargo of wheat overboard” (Acts 27:30-37).
Paul’s confident faith was infectious. The sailors were now without a lifeboat as an escape plan and without any food provisions to count on for the future. All they had was God’s promise that they would be okay.
The good news is that God’s promises are enough. Everyone on that ship survived the storm and made it safely to land just as God had said.
Like Paul, we have promises that we can rest in even when life seems risky. We don’t need lifeboats or cargo to guarantee our safety through a storm. God promises that He will go with us and never abandon us. He promises to shelter us and set us high above our enemies. He promises to provide for our needs and to give us all-sufficient grace. He promises to strengthen us and renew us day by day.
These promises mean that life for those with faith is never really risky. Instead, with a simple shift in our kaleidoscope and change in our perspective, God can help us experience the rest of faith by connecting His promises with our situation. Then, we will “trust and not be afraid” (Isaiah 12:2, NIV).
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King