Our first family holiday abroad was to Salou in Spain. As a treat we promised the kids a full day at the nearby Port Aventura theme park. There were many rides, one of which was the Dragon Khan. I was persuaded by my offspring to take a ride on the Dragon Khan. I will never forget the feeling, standing at the top of the steps waiting to get on the ride, knowing that to go back would be to both lose face and disappoint my children. So, against my better judgement I climbed aboard and endured several minutes of blind terror and the scary feeling that for this short period of time I had no control whatsoever over my life.
Of course the ride was perfectly safe, I had seen countless people both get on and get off before me. However it felt as though I was taking a great risk, and I am not an instinctive risk taker. I like to keep it safe. Some people are adrenaline junkies, searching out the next risk laden fix. But not me. Am I right though, and ought I to question my risk averse nature?
After all, it was Jesus who said, “unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives.” (John 12:24) This was Jesus’ way of speaking about his own death, and subsequent resurrection. His words underline just what a risk God was prepared to take for each one of us and that that risk had the potential to reap a great reward.
Our evaluation of risk is one of the everyday calculations we make. There are areas of life where perhaps we should take no risk whatsoever, with our children’s safety or behind the wheel of a car for example. When the plane we are travelling on takes off we don’t expect the pilot to announce that he’s going to be taking a few risks today, so hang on for the ride of your life! But there are other areas where taking a risk has the potential to reap great rewards. The shy teenage boy has his eye on the most beautiful girl in the room, should he just admire from a distance or risk a painful rebuttal by asking her for a dance; taking a risk might be the best decision of his life! Do we believe that ‘discretion is the better part of valour’ or ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’? Given the opportunity again I may well decline the opportunity to ride the Dragon Khan, but I’m glad I took the risk and came away with a powerful memory.
Easter is about a God who knows that some things are so important that risks must be taken. So he sends his only Son who yields his life, pays the ultimate price, takes the greatest risk, so that we might reap the reward of forgiveness and new life. But in turn we are called to be risk takers too. “Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.” Jesus said. (John 12:25)
So, what’s your response this Easter to your risk taking God? What’s your risk profile. You don’t have to be an impulsive adrenaline junkie, but you do need to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk now and then, it’s written into the laws of life, at least in the laws of ‘life in all its fullness’.