“So sometimes we have to decide: are we going to love, or are we going to look smart? Because, loving the
needy doesn’t look smart.”

This quote, and those following,  is taken from a message by Gary Haugen, president of International Justice Mission.

I found this message incredibly relevant to my own life and decisions right now.

~~~~~

What does all this mean? Well, it brings us to the topic that John asked me to address, which is “What do we
do when the will of God is scary?” Well, first we might look at the question. Is God’s will ever supposed to be scary? I
mean, isn’t God supposed to take care of me? Isn’t he supposed to keep me from danger and make me safe? In fact,
aren’t I probably out of his will if I’m feeling scared? Well, according to Jesus, no. In fact, it turns out that doing God’s
will in a fallen world is inherently dangerous. Over and over in Scripture, Jesus teaches us that his disciples will suffer
for following him. Of course, we will avoid a lot of suffering for following him. We will avoid the suffering of guilt, the
suffering of self-destruction, of addition, of hell. But there are other kinds of suffering we will encounter precisely
because we are following him. And he wants us to be very clear about this. In fact, in our New Testament reading
from I Peter it says, Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But, even if you do suffer for doing
what is right, you are blessed…Keep your conscience clear, so that when you are maligned, those
who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for
doing good, if that should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil.

So some suffering can clearly be God’s will. It isn’t necessarily the suffering itself that is God’s will, but rather, in a
fallen world, following the will of God will generate suffering in our lives. In fact, there are two things that are always
the will of God and always dangerous in a fallen world: telling the truth and loving needy people.

~~~~~

Sometimes the will of God is scary because he’s asking us to choose between a life that looks successful and
a life that is actually significant. A life that wins the applause of our peers or a life that actually transforms lives
through love. In Washington, DC, I think, one of the most exalted positions of life is actually becoming a Senator.
Really though, history shows that you can actually be a senator of just about no significance. Sometimes it’s just
confusing. Are we seeking success or significance? Jesus tried to be clear about all of this with his disciples. He said
in Luke 9:24 “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will
save it.”

~~~~~

Embark on the lifelong journey of spiritual formation and renovation of the heart. It’s not by
the sheer will inside that we will be brave. It takes reformation of the heart. And God doesn’t call us to try
to be brave. He calls us to train to be brave. It’s not something we arrive at tomorrow, but hopefully, by the
grace of God, it’s something we’re entering into more deeply ten years from now.

~~~~~

Amen.

Advertisements