Everywhere I look, it seems fear is swirling. These are unsettling times and the forces of evil are at work. Violence is an obvious evil but so is fear. Years ago, my rector, Rev. Beth Fain, told me that fear is not from God. That stuck with me and I can see how fear is at the root of much sin. If sin is separation from God, then the Evil One uses fear to drive a wedge between us and God and erode trust between us and our neighbor.
Following Jesus has no guarantees. When we welcome, serve, reach out, care, or love, we do so with no promise of safety, reciprocity, appreciation, or returned love. Jesus gave us no easy way out. He just said don’t be afraid and I am with you. We can choose to be obedient or we can choose our own comfort. But obedience and comfort are mutually exclusive. And Jesus was obedient even when he knew that meant he would be handed over to people who would kill him. We are so comfortable and that is what scares me the most. As long as our focus is ourselves first and everyone else second, the kingdom will get smaller and smaller.
Jesus never made success or results his goals. We are conditioned to control outcomes but that doesn’t leave room for God to move. If we only do those things where there is no risk of failure, then we are only doing human stuff. Because taking risks invites the Spirit in to transform and astound. Our little human capacity is small and only with God’s involvement do great things happen. If we want to do small and be small then we have that covered all by ourselves. If we want to change the world, we have to leave enough open space for God to act.
God is bigger than anything we can imagine or comprehend. Can you be obedient or is certainty too enticing to take a chance on Him?