Saturday, September 12, 2009

Risk is Right

Our small group is still working through John Piper's book Don't Waste Your Life. It's been a slow go at this book, but Piper's writing is laden with so much wisdom that it takes a while to read and let it all soak in.

Last night we were discussing the fifth chapter in this book that talks about risk. As I read through this chapter in preparation, I was profoundly struck by so many things that Piper had to say.

He begins by defining risk as an action that exposes you to the possibility of loss or injury, and continues on by talking about how the life that magnifies Christ the most is the one of costly love. Piper continues by talking about how risk is unavoidable because this world is anything but safe.

He explored the scriptures, talking about Joab leading the Israelites into battle against the Amalekites and Syians in 2 Samuel 10. He talked about Esther, who was implored by her cousin Mordecai to go before the king and plead the case of her (the Jewish) people. And in both cases, Piper points out that both Joab and Esther had to choose to risk or run. They both chose the path of great risk, and handed the results over to God.

This morning I am glancing back at the note I made in the margin which says, "This is so scary!" I feel like that's true on so many levels. First, I think that being in control gives us a facade of safety. When we hand the results over to someone else, we're no longer in control. It doesn't feel safe. It's risky. Secondly, as Piper points out, that when we risk for the cause of God, there is no promise that every effort will succeed, at least not in the short run. When we make the decision to risk boldly for the sake of making much of God and hand the results over to Him, in His sovereignty, He may allow the unthinkable, the disastrous, the catastrophic to happen. In His infinite wisdom, He knows what will bring Him the most glory.

While I was pregnant with Isaac and so many of us (and you) were praying for his healing, I just kept thinking to myself, "The stage is set, Lord. You can come in, heal this precious little boy, and thousands of people would bear witness to your greatness. The doctors have said this is impossible, but with You, all things are possible." It never occurred to me at the time that He could have been setting the stage to somehow receive greater glory by saying, "No" when the results were handed over to Him.

I am only just now beginning to really understand this... to understand how, in this situation God is somehow receiving greater glory through our pain, rather than the miracle we prayed for; through loss, rather than restoration on this side of heaven.

But I can tell you with absolute resolve, that I don't regret for one minute choosing the road of costly love.

Piper draws this chapter to a close by saying, "On the far side of every risk- even if it results in death- the love of God triumphs." And it has. The love of God triumphs in the way that He has faithfully cared and provided for Spencer and I over the last year. The love of God triumphs in the way that He didn't spare His only son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. The love of God triumphs in the fact that Isaac is safe in His presence.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:37-39


Taylor said...

Stacy, I think that your (and Spencer's) faithfulness is more of a testimony to God's greatness than you'll probably ever know. I also think that one of Isaac's greatest testimonies is to how much God loves us just exactly as we are, which is something I still struggle with on a daily basis. He didn't have to do anything except be exactly who God created him to be, and his life has (and continues to) pointed so many to Christ, exactly as we are meant to do.

Anonymous said...

I cannot tell you Stacy how much this post meant to me tonight. It is exactly what I needed to read. You have paid a costly price for love and like so many I mourn the loss of Isaac to you. I am sending my love to you and Spencer during these days and weeks. xxxx

Lauren said...

Beautifully written.


Holly said...

Romans 8:38-39 is one of my favorite verses. It solidifies that nothing can ever separate me from God and His love.

Thank for posting about risk. God certainly knows what paths will bring Him the most glory. It isn't always easy but God will never leave us and will walk the road beside us.

Sonya said...

Great post Stacy. Thank you so much for sharing. God is truly getting the glory and I know that his plans for you and Spencer and Isaac are great!

Trisha Larson said...

Thank you for sharing that. I've never thought of it like that before. I've always thought of Nate's death in reference to spiritual battles and haven't understood why God said "no" to our prayers. I am determined to make something good out of our tragedy but it didn't occur to me that my attempts might bring more glory to God than a "yes" would have brought. Hope that makes sense!


Rachel Tenpenny Crawford said...

I am not sure if we have met. I read your blog from time to time. I love it. I lost my twin daughters in July 2008. You can read their story at This post really touched my heart. I have thought about taking risk...especial as my husband and I talk about having another baby...and I find myself scared. It is one thing to risk it all to triumph...another to risk and lose. The truth is that Christ made a way for us to never lose. Ultimately we win. So this life may be filled with losses, but in the end we win. And thank God for that because we can have the peace that our babies are on the receiving end of God's amazing grace. Our risk was their gain without question. Thank you Stacy. I pray for you often.

Carly said...

Wow, powerful. Thanks for this post! Thinking of you.

Stephanie said...

You express yourself so beautifully. Thank you for this post. :)

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Beautifully said, as always, dear friend...the love of God does triumph over all things...

Thank you for sharing this, and for ending with one of my favorite verses. How true it is!

Jessica K. said...

I dont really know how I got here today but I wanted to let you know that your son is just perfect in every way. What a handsome little guy. I am sure he is right by Jesus watching over his parents!
Sending you much love!

Lorraine said...

Wonderfully stated. In the past several years since a loss of my own, I have thought often about risk, and decided that I would do it all over again. Not because I love the pain that came with the outcome of the risk I was involved in; but because of how intimate my relationship with the Lord grew after that time.

More recently, when I lost a very close member of my family, a sweet lady at church in her own grief said of mourning, "It's the price we pay for loving." I think it is, and I think of how God risked His own Son & how Jesus risked His own life to love us and offer us eternity with Him ... and it was a great risk because some never take the gift and love Him back.

Amanda said...

Wow. How many times I have prayed that prayer over the last few months... that healing would come and His greatness would surely be known. I recently attended a Beth Moore simulcast and we were studying Psalm 37:4 - "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." One thing she suggested that I have been mulling over is that God will trump our desires when our destiny or His glory is at stake. Your post helped to drive it home. While we may not understand (or even like it at first) God knows what will bring Him the most glory.

Ruth said...

well said. You are so right. We just read a good article by J.C. Ryle titled SICKNESS. Very helpful and along these same lines. I totally relate and wish that I didn't but I do because of what God has done in our life and through our loss.