“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft… In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren …” - 2 Corinthians 11:23, 26
Dangers, toils, snares – the old apostle had known them all – and it wasn’t even the end of his journey when he reported these things. All of them compound in the journey of life. Looking back over the years, we can compile lists of such challenges. They can all be and all have been obstacles to progress in our faith, but it is dangers that throw most folks off course.
Why are dangers so dangerous to our growth? Perhaps it is because we are programmed to resist risk and conditioned to seek safety in false assurances and straw houses built on sifting sand.
Christianity is a dangerous calling. Our certainties have to do with ultimate concerns. Temporal circumstances may be as volatile and the weather and as ferocious as wild animals. We come through dangers because we are willing to face them with faith.
Pity the man or woman who shies away from every God-given calling and challenge because it might not be temporally safe. Sad is the Christian who confesses faith but lives in fear. Pathetic is the disciple who practices pain-avoidance as a creed for life. Tragic is the believer who never crosses into the adventure of radical discipleship because it takes him or her out of some flimsy comfort zone.
Read Paul’s list and realize that he still had a large part of the journey left ahead of him – not to mention the martyr’s death that awaited him in Rome. But it was through these he had come and he was still “safe” in Jesus Christ.
What is dangerous for you today? What are your crippling fears? Perhaps they are nothing more than the fear of rejection or embarrassment. Give your fears to the Lord and don’t miss the adventure. You will regret it if you do.