Recently, I heard a speaker assert that faith is spelled r-i-s-k.
There is much truth in that statement. When Mary said “yes” to the angel Gabriel, she knew her unwed pregnancy (by the Holy Spirit) would bring misunderstanding, and very possibly much worse. Simon and Andrew left their fishing nets, their very livelihoods, to follow Jesus when He first called! What a huge risk that was! How were they going to survive? What would their families think? Those of us living the Christian life today know that we also must take risks.
It’s risky to talk to someone about Jesus or offer to pray for or with them. It may open you up to rejection or persecution. You may lose friendships and even status due to your faith.
It’s risky to make decisions based on faith when they don’t make sense on practical levels. Sometimes (many times) the Lord asks us to sacrifice money, personal gain, and our own desires for humility.
It’s even risky to live your life as a Christian at all! We “walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) The world tells us we are foolish and throwing our lives away by basing our lives upon something unseen. Nowadays, more and more, living the Christian life is cause for being called “intolerant.” Everything except Christianity is tolerated!
Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat. Peter did, and he walked on water! I think with us, too, He is asking us to do things we’ve never done before. It’s 2017, friends. We’ve been stuck for far too long. It’s time for us to step out of the boat. It’s time to take a risk. It’s time for radical faith.
Have you ever noticed that we live in a world that doesn’t like change to the way things are?
Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr‘s birthday. Martin Luther King Jr. died for the cause of equality for all the races in the United States. There were many people opposed to his message. They wanted things to stay the way they were. In the end, the opposition killed him. This year will mark 49 years since his life was taken too soon. His legacy lives on. Many freedoms have been secured for equality between races. Now, segregation is illegal. Black children and white children attend school together. People of every color can drink from the same water fountain, and decide where they would like to sit on a public bus. Citizens of every race can cast their vote in elections.Though the laws have changed, many realities have not. So we press on. MLK teaches us to fight for justice and what is right in a world that doesn’t want things to change.
When you are living a life different than what the world says you should, you will encounter opposition.
When you go deeper in a relationship with God and abandon your life to live totally for HIM, there will be resistance.
When you seek justice for the oppressed, you will battle opposition.
When you do things in a way that is outside the status quo, there will be resistance.
When you make decisions that don’t follow the normal, there will be opposition.
When you wait on the Lord for HIS choice of spouse, people will think you are picky and unreasonable.
If you are seeking to live an authentic Christian life, the world will try to silence you.
Step outside the status quo. Forget what the world says. Take a leap of faith in the walk that God has given you, and the strength that you have been given to walk it out.
On Sunday mornings, I get in my car and drive to attend Mass, to worship the Lord with my brothers and sisters. It’s the highlight of my week. Though I know the times are perilous and anything can happen, I know that my church in a suburb in the U.S.A. is much safer than many of the places my brothers and sisters worship. I always have a thought for my brothers and sisters all over the world who are persecuted for their faith. They realize that any public act of worship may well be their last. They step into a church that they know could be a target, or crowd into homes or secret places where someone may have followed them.
Today I arrived home and read the sad news of the bombing of a cathedral in Egypt, where more than 20 people lost their lives. Then I read about Pope Francis praying for the victims of terrorism from this weekend. Egypt was not the only place where people lost their lives the past 2 days. Persecution and terrorism are widespread in this world. This map gives an idea of the places where Christians are persecuted and the severity of the persecution.
Don’t forget to pray for our brothers and sisters throughout the world. And remember that religious freedom is not something to take for granted. So many of our Christian brothers and sisters live daily with persecution, and we need to be prepared for the same. Today we mourn and remember the victims and their families, as well as pray for the conversion of those who carry out attacks.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”~2 Timothy 3:12