It’s January 20, about three weeks into the new year. Mid-January is when you really start to think about your New Year’s Resolutions. One of the things I wanted to do in this new year is to take greater steps to preach and demonstrate the kingdom of God. I sense God saying that He will move based on my willingness to step out in faith. So this year, to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, I am committed to say “yes.” Because I will never know if the senses in my heart are Him unless I step out. Indeed, the one word that I feel Him speaking to me for this year, the year 2012, is “RISK.”
The definition of risk is to “Incur the chance of unfortunate consequences by engaging in an action.”
I’ve always been a risk-taker. In high school, my Odyssey of the Mind team built a balsa wood structure that had to “shrink.” Our solution to the problem included two flaps at the bottom of the structure which extended outward, held up by a glue rubber band. This was a big risk because we weren’t sure if the flaps would break, or if we would get a penalty for having glue more than 1/2″ from the joints. It was also much more complicated than a lot of the other teams who simply had a small piece of wood “shrink” into the base of the structure. However, we took these risks and received an award for the creativity of our design. So early in life, I discovered there are many risks in life worth taking.
The same thing happens in the Kingdom. Yes, when we step out in faith to pray for someone, many things are at risk. We risk our reputation – people staring, wondering, questioning – who is she and what is she doing? We risk humiliation and condemnation – what will people think of me? We risk financial hardship – how will pay rent if I give up the job that I feel I’m supposed to? All of these things can get overwhelming and at times we get paralyzed in fear.
I’ve heard it said that faith is going out on a limb even if you’re not sure it will hold you up. Sometimes we get stuck, fearing what will happen if we go out on that limb. I feel that fear is one of the enemy’s chief tactics in stopping us from becoming all that He made us to be. However, we know that there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18). Rather than to think of what we might lose, I like to think of risk as what we might gain.
If we pray for someone and they are healed, that person will realize that God is alive, is present in our lives, and that Jesus is a healer! If we pray for someone and nothing happens, or if we share a word with someone, everyone I’ve talked to still feels blessed and inspired by your willingness to share. Although I was a bit intimidated to pray for a co-worker at work, I did and then he gave me a big smile and said, “Thank you, honey!” and gave me a big hug. Honestly, what is the worst that can happen? I’ve never had a bad experience praying for someone who agrees to it. So, why not???
Risk it…Jesus is worth it!
Here are three stories already this year of things that have happened to me in taking risks. Every minute of the day, I seek to say “Jesus, what are you doing? What are you saying here?” It’s amazing what the Lord can do when you make yourself available.
1. The morning of January 2, the day after I made my New Year’s Resolutions, I was running and passed a woman who was walking her dog. I sensed in my spirit, “That woman has pain in her right hip.” The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Jesus, why do you always have to interrupt me? I just wanted to enjoy a nice run to clear my mind’…but then I remembered my new year’s resolution, repented, and ran back to her. “Excuse me, ma’am, this might sound a bit strange, but do you have pain in your right hip?” She said, “Yes, how did you know that?” I said, “Well, I’m a Christian, and sometimes God tells me things…” and I offered to pray for her. After I prayed, she didn’t notice any change in her pain levels, but I told her that sometimes God heals over time and that I would be praying for her that day. She seemed really blessed to know that God cares enough about her to stop someone on the street who would stop and pray.
2. Last week I was biking along Massachusetts Avenue and saw a young man (right) sitting on the side of the street. I sensed in my spirit, “He needs encouragement today.” So I pulled over on my bike and talked to him for awhile. He shared with me about the difficulties of living on the street – things getting stolen, how cold it is at night (I can’t even imagine sleeping on the streets in the frigid Boston winters!) I prayed for him that He would feel God’s warmth and love and know that no situation is too big for our God to redeem. I told him that God had a plan for his life that was much bigger than just living on the street. Tears filled his eyes and I promised to return with some more warm clothing for him and his fiance.
3. The other day I was running again along the river, and I passed two guys talking. I felt like I was supposed to talk to them, so I stopped and asked them if they were from the area. After a few minutes I asked them if they needed prayer for anything. They both said that I could be praying for their collegiate studies. We exchanged emails, and afterwards George wrote to me: “The atmosphere at that time was so encouraging. I think God wants me to pray a lot not only for my life but also to my campus, people nearby me, and also to this nation, the USA…I think God has led you to meet me this afternoon, I am very happy. Our meeting at that place is just the starting. Thanks for the hugging, I just felt the presence of God.” I’m realizing that even one small conversation can have a huge impact on a person’s life. In everything we do as a Christian, we are planting seeds for the kingdom of God to grow.
I heard a sermon by Mike Bickle in which he said, “God is always speaking. The Holy Spirit is always moving. Sometimes we just have to put up the sails so we can catch the wind…” What can God do with you if you put up your sails, if you make yourself available, and then step out to take a risk? Post your stories below…