I am not a risk taker. I don't ride roller coasters, and I can be pretty terrified of doing something wrong or failing. Only occasionally, I'll walk on the wild side. Every now and then I'll put myself out on a limb. I hope I do it more than I realize. I think taking risks can be a good thing. Risks, while they may expose vulnerabilities, can also create opportunities and expand possibilities. I guess the wisdom lies in deciding if the favorable outcome is worth the risk. Is what I am aiming for worth possibly missing the mark? I know someone who is a risk taker. He has an important goal in mind, so important He's taken enormous chances to achieve it.
God took a risk on us. He gave us a choice: to love Him or to reject Him. He took a big risk in the Garden of Eden. He put a tree there. He said, "You shouldn't eat from this tree." God gave Adam and Eve the choice to obey and show love. Why? Because when someone chooses to love, it's stronger, it's more authentic than someone who's programmed to love. I use this example with my sons. I tell them that when they were babies they loved me, not because they knew me or my personality or anything about me, but because I met their needs. I provided food and security and all they needed. It was a robotic and somewhat selfish type of love. As they have grown up, that love has progressed to a more sincere love. Now they know more about me. Now they choose to love me with their attitudes and actions and words. Yet, another even stronger love is around the corner for them. Someday a young lady will come into their lives, and with no obligation to do so, they will completely surrender themselves to her. They will make a choice to love her for the rest of their lives. The Bible describes this love as so powerful that a man will leave his parents and cleave to his wife. This love is strong enough that when it's chosen daily, repeatedly, it can cause a relationship to not only last a lifetime but to thrive for a lifetime as well. Do you get what I am saying? God didn't want to program us to love Him; He wanted us to choose to love Him because that's the better love. His goal was authentic love, and love was worth the risk of rejection.
(You theologically minded people, this is not meant to turn into a freewill vs predestination discussion, so don't go there. Let's save that for another day.)
God took a risk at the cross too. He exposed His heart and He sacrificed His Son. Those are two extreme choices. The Bible says that when Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the temple tore in two, revealing the Holy of Holies. This small room at the back of the temple was where the Ark of the Covenant stood. And this ark was the throne of God. In it were symbols of God's love and provision for His people. This room was so holy, so set apart, that only the high priests were allowed in it, and they could only go in once a year. But all that changed when Jesus died. The veil was ripped apart, and the throne of God, indeed the very heart of God, was exposed. Wow! What a risk to take - to share that much of yourself with the entire world, knowing that not everyone would believe and receive what you were offering.
When I thought about that this morning, I was reminded of a time I took a risk. I was single, working, and I had my own apartment. Stephan and I were dating, and he was over, but about to leave for work. I walked him to the door and very casually, without even thinking, I said, "Goodbye. I love you." Neither of us had ever said those words before. I immediately realized what I'd done and slammed the door. My heart was racing. I had just made myself vulnerable. I put my true feelings on the table. I couldn't take them back. They were there to be received or trampled, the choice was Stephan's. Fortunately for me, he chose to receive them and love me back. The reward was worth the risk.
God took much bigger risks that I did. His goal is much bigger than mine. He wants to shower us with love and affection and kindness. He wants us to know Him and to love Him and be satisfied by Him. He took some risks to make that kind of relationship between each of us and Him possible. He knew some would say no; He knew some would not believe. Yet, God considered the love from and the relationship with those that said yes worth the risks.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1