Thursday, January 2, 2014

The reward of risk

I find an excuse to get it out almost every day.

I have big black boots. They squeeze my feet. With a short breath my rip-proof jacket with reinforced elbows zips up tight. My helmet slips over my head with a pull of the straps. I close my fists to feel my leather gloves wrap tighter around my fingers.

I choose routes with smooth corners and lonely asphalt, the pavement a blur beneath the pegs where my boots rest, my eyes scanning the next intersection for cars. I give into the G-forces as I accelerate out of a long curve, letting gravity push me deeper into the seat. I wait a second longer after a stop before tucking in my legs -- just as I did as a little kid holding my feet off the pedals going down a long hill, like wings.

There’s no music. No talking. No texts. My mind is free to wander far ahead down the road, thoughts zipping through the trees flying by on my left and right until they swoop back into my consciousness, a little more sorted than they were.

My motorbike is a beater. We’ll sell it in the spring for the price I paid for it. It’s hard to start and it’s got some dings in it. But at a red light it rumbles, ready to jump. The scratches don’t bother me. It's for daily commuting, not a rolling chrome showpiece.

If I roll my wrist too far on the throttle it goes fast enough to scare me.

It feels risky.

It feels dangerous.

But I’ve done way more irresponsible things in the past two years than ride. We sold our house. I quit a job I loved. We moved across the continent. We sold everything we have. We pulled our kids out of schools and friendships and dropped them in a strange culture.

And God has been good.

In fact, in my life it’s when I’ve rolled my wrists too far that I’ve felt most alive in the grip of grace.

When I’ve risked something, God has met me. Sometimes it’s a big step, a sacrifice. But more often the risk is small, born of love. Like when I listen to that small voice prompting me to stop for a homeless person, or I choose to lay down my life and desires and ego for a friend, or volunteer to pray for a stranger at church.

Getting used to risk is a muscle. Exercise it and it grows. I should know now when I’m standing with my foot in the air ready to step out, judging the scene, measuring the downside, calculating the risk, that God is there. But exercise makes you sweat and so does risk.

God meets me not because of the sacrifice I’ve made but because of who He is. In risk I’ve stepped out from under the security blanket I’ve woven and looked up to heaven and said, “I need you. I have nothing else. I am yours.”

Jesus was about love so when He said, “The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it” (Matthew 11:12), I believe He was talking about that wrecking, rippling, powerful love that overwhelms us.

He wants passionate lovers.

Forceful people.

Loving fiercely.

That’s what this world of car bombs and starvation and hopelessness needs.

May 2014 be a year when you roll your wrists too far. 

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