I am a thrill-seeker. There is something about an extreme sport or adventure activity that woos at my desire to live on the edge. My family knows this about me. Over the years, they have given me numerous gifts wrapped around adventure. Several years ago I jumped out of a plane courtesy of my wife. Interestingly, I am afraid of heights. Yet, my desire for adventure outweighed my phobia therefore I jumped. For Father’s Day we went kayaking on the Chicago River underneath the skyscrapers. This alone is an adventure as we navigated through numerous dinner boats and avoided some dead rats floating in the river (you gotta love Chicago!) This past week, they surprised me on my birthday by taking me ziplining. Two hours of flying through the air with one run a whopping 1,000 feet and another one causing you to reach speeds over 50 mph. I loved it.
Even though I love adventure, I am not a reckless thrill-seeker. I calculate the risk and reward before doing something. Skydiving is no problem because I was strapped to a professional who had access to both a parachute and a backup one. When it came to ziplining there were two lines attached to the cable, one as a failsafe. I would be hesitant to do other adventure sports because of the uncertain risk. Bungee jumping is one of them. Not sure if I trust the safety protocols. Or, I recently watched a video of someone scaling El Capitan in Yosemite without any ropes. Yeah, this is not going to happen.
When I think of risk-rewards I can’t help but think of a relationship with God. People take risks all the time. Thousands of airplanes fly every day jammed with people eager to get somewhere quicker even though there is a risk of a plane crash. People who are afraid to fly determine the rewards of flying outweigh the risk. Others engage in adventure sports just like me based on the conclusion that the adrenaline rush is worth the nominal risk of physical harm. Others have jumped out of a plane without a problem; therefore, it should be safe for me. There are no guarantees in life, even when we jump in the car. We take risks because enough evidence has been shown to minimize the risk.
I have seen breathtaking sunsets this fall. The sky has been filled with displays of color that take my breath away. It has been like an artist painted the horizon. People have experienced unexplainable health turnarounds. Some would call it human will; I call it a miracle. I am not referring to a person recovering from surgery but someone dramatically turning around when given little hope of survival. I am amazed at the marvel of birth. Yes, we can cite biological processes; however, the creation of life still blows me away. And I have witnessed incredible kindness and forgiveness in the midst of paralyzing hurt and pain. Rather than resort to bitterness and despair, a person has chosen hope and grace. God has provided evidence galore. Yet, there is still hesitation by many. They say the risks need to be non-existent to believe in Him. This is not true in life. Life always involves risks. Why should it be different with God. We give him the reins on our lives. In doing so, He gets to call the shots. We might have to sacrifice something (a risk). We might have to change our behavior (another risk). We might have to forgive someone that hurt us (still another risk). Yet, the rewards far surpass any risk. Freedom, joy, peace, grace, and hope are accessible by stepping out in faith despite the risks. God has provided so much evidence as to His goodness that we should have very little trouble taking the plunge. Surely, God is far more secure than a parachute or zipline!