We have created the most risk-averse society in history. Kids play less outside. Adults are hyper insured, password protected and security-systemed.
But the idea that you can insulate your life to the point where you are guaranteed total safety is a sham. You can still be taken out in a freak accident.
For instance, in 1919, in Boston, a giant vat of molasses exploded, and the molasses oozed into the street. It killed twenty-one people.
Christians can be risk-averse, too. We stop serving because it might not be safe. We stop tithing because we think it might not be safe for finances. We stop sharing our faith because it might be embarrassing. We stop risking, we stop asking God what he wants us to do, and we slowly develop an apathetic, boring, safe faith.
But when you trust in God, take a risk and God comes through for you—that fires up your heart to rediscover a faith that is alive.
“When the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (John 20:19,20).
Jesus had called twelve disciples to follow him on a risky adventure that would change the world, and their own lives. After he was crucified, his disciples feared for their safety. Would they be hunted down and killed, too? So they protected themselves. They locked themselves in an upper room.
Jesus, risen from the dead that morning, had miraculously passed through the stone of his tomb and now miraculously passes through the locked room. The problem, he tells these men, is not their need for protection around them but for peace within them.
They’re playing it too safe. They should be practicing their faith in God-honoring risks for Jesus and his mission. Here are three reasons why.
“Jesus came and stood among them.” When you don’t have what it takes to come to Jesus, he comes to you. When you don’t feel like you are standing strong, Jesus stands with you. He is here. Now. Alive. Victorious. He’s on your side and he never loses a fight.
Jesus said, “Peace be with you.” Jesus’ words had once created the universe and commanded storms. Jesus’ words had cast out demons and diseases and called forth Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus says it, then it is done. “Peace be with you,” isn’t a wish in a Hallmark sympathy card, it’s a divine command of the Lord of life and love who rules your heart. “Peace lives here. Peace overcomes fear. Peace rules your mind and heart.”
“Jesus showed them his hands and his side.” Nails had stapled his hands to the cross. A spear was thrust into him to see if he was really dead. God the Father’s plan for Jesus wasn’t safe; it was uncomfortable, painful, deadly—and good. It saved you. Jesus saved you. Jesus died for you. No, he doesn’t want you to be safe from everything, safe from risk, safe from your feelings being hurt or plans being changed. But he does want you to be saved. Forgiven. Set apart for a special purpose. Victorious in the good fight.
Don’t lock your doors to a Jesus who brings peace, just because he doesn’t bring your idea of peace. Stop fearing his desires for you, his purpose for you that involves more risk than you desire.
Stop playing it safe. Jesus stands with you. Jesus says, “Peace.” Jesus saves.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, fill us with your power that makes us strong, fill us with your life that makes us fully alive, fill us with your forgiving peace that has paid for our sins, and fill us with God the Holy Spirit. We need you to make our faith what you know it can be. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Which of the three reasons to stop playing it safe will prompt you to new, living faith this week? 1) Jesus stands with you. 2) Jesus says, “Peace.” 3) Jesus saves.