Have you ever been paragliding?” asked my sister-in-law. “No,” I laughed. She proceeded to share her recent experience paragliding off the coast of California. YouTube filled in what I couldn’t imagine. I sat; open-jawed and wide-eyed watching the thrilling jump and the peaceful decent to safety; secretly longing to share her unabated abandonment to risk.
I’m not a risk-taker. No dare, coax, or otherwise could subject me to danger. I cling to the safe, secure and the known. There is great comfort for me in knowing that given the proper amount of preparation, things should turn out as planned.
However, my circumstances of late have shaken my security (and let’s be honest here, faith) to the core. In the past year joblessness, alcoholism, depression and marital strife have invaded my home with blunt force. “Normal days” soon became defined as “recovering from the previous evening’s occurrences with a drunk and verbally abusive husband.” As each drunken and abusive episode unfolded, I found myself giving into deep feelings of rage, cynicism and judgment. These dark and harboring emotions slowly but certainly put chains around my legs and walls around my heart.
In a short period of time, I officially shut out everyone. It wasn’t until a friend’s keen sense of our family’s rapid downfall suggested I declare victory over the episodes and gratefulness for what I did have. So I did. When the door flung open at 2:00AM to reveal a drunk husband, I declared, “Thank you Jesus for getting him home safely.” When harsh words were yelled, I said, “Thank you Jesus that you are strong enough to deflect these words and that you stand beside me to shield me from their sting.”
My mother-in-law knew my pain and I shared hers as she watched her son spiral out of control. She bought the book, “Jesus Calling” to bring focus and clarity during this trial. Soon a copy arrived at my house. While getting ready for work each day, I read the recommended text. Ironically, each day, I felt a little more liberated than the day before. Step by step.
After some time it became apparent to me that, I invited the house guests of joblessness, alcoholism, depression and family strife to take up sacred space through my own greed, negligence, and lack of faith. I had blessing piling up around me each day and I neglected to acknowledge the Creator for all the good right before my eyes. My foolishness had me chose my way (the safe way) instead of the Creator’s way. I soon realized that 1) I rely on me instead of the One who made all things to work for his purpose at His appointed time and 2) I avoid risk but fail to acknowledge that He took the ultimate risk for me by dying to give me new life…and new chances each day.
As I write, I tear up realizing that this story’s end is out of my control; that in effect, I have to jump and trust that God’s got this one covered for me. Scripture tells me to lay my disappointments at the altar of the One who came to conquer unemployment, to banish addiction and to lift up the faint of heart. Our Maker is screaming at me through my circumstances to let go; to jump off the cliff (so to speak) and trust the sweet, soft netting of God’s capable hands. Easier said than done? You bet. Safe, secure outcome? Absolutely. Effective today, my prayers will turn from “Please God”, to “Thank you, Father.” Acknowledging God for what He has already done I’m finding, is sweeter than pointing out that which He hasn’t.
*Author’s name is a pseudonym