Spell it out
Every day we wake up to the Great Gamble.
Today could be the day the stock market crashes.
Today could be the day I get hit by a bus.
Today could be the day that I forgo a cheeseburger and choose a healthy salad instead, only to figure out later that the greens were contaminated with e.coli.
The Great Gamble is unavoidable. You can try to stay in bed to avoid it, but while you’re holed up with the covers pulled up over your head, the planet is still revolving and life is going on…and you’re missing it and all the ice cream.
John Wimber once said “Faith is spelled R-I-S-K.” Sounds to me like a way to live in the tension of the Great Gamble.
Faith doesn’t look for a sure thing. It looks for a real thing. People of deep faith understand that it’s worth the uncertainty of risk to chase down a life that is at once both solid and fluid, unshakeable in significance and richness and connection with the Infinite.
People of faith also understand that in order to chase down that life, some risks won’t pay off the way we hope or expect. The end result will be pain. And it won’t feel good.
But people of faith know something else, something crucial: you won’t die from feeling pain.
Let me repeat that: you aren’t going to die from having unpleasant feelings.
Some of the risks I’ve taken have paid off gloriously. But if I’m fully truthful, some haven’t paid off at all like I’d hoped. I knew that could happen, but until it actually did, I had no idea the level of disappointment I’d experience, or the depths of pain. It makes no sense to refuse to risk in order to avoid the nebulous cloud of possible unpleasantness. So I jumped in with both feet—right as the pool drained. The bottom was hard and slippery, and I got a few bruises from the abrupt landing.
It was worth the flying leap.
Every day we’re presented with new opportunities and formulations of the Great Gamble. It’s as if there’s an infinite number of ways to risk our sanity, our finances, our reputation, our time, our lives. It’s as if there’s an infinite number of ways to lose.
But that also means there’s an infinite number of ways to win.
The first win is that moment you’re airborne when you take that flying leap…