I stood there at the open door of our home with the rain pouring outside and not knowing who would come in – if they would be familiar faces or new, if I’d know their names, if they were Believers or seekers, or what their expectations were. I’d texted people who lived on our street to come and pray for a neighbor battling cancer and given just two weeks to live, and word had spread about our prayer gathering to others not on our street who wanted to come.
We’d hardly slept the night before when we heard that many unbelievers were coming. Our nerves were a bundle as we wondered how we’d lead through our emotions with such a mix of people. And then as people started flocking in, we felt a peace and presence from the Lord. God was calling them to come pray, and they just kept showing up. Over 55 people braved the storm to come gather in our living room that night, many that I’d never met before, and we gave our hearts and our neighbor’s life over to the Lord.
Afterward, a family that attended the prayer gathering asked if they could come to church with us the next Sunday and explore a relationship with God for the very first time in their lives. Another neighbor, who is not a believer, said she’d never seen men express emotion like that before – the faith-filled men who cried out to our Heavenly Father in desperation on behalf of our neighbor. And a direct blessing was that the neighbor with cancer experienced relief from fever during our prayer time!
Have you ever taken a risk in leadership that you believed might utterly fail with awkwardness, embarrassment, loss, or disaster? Going into our prayer meeting, we risked being the only ones to pray and risked times of heavy silence. We risked unbelievers misunderstanding God’s compassion during suffering if we didn’t take time to understand it first ourselves and trust God with our suffering. We risked neighbors thinking we were fools wasting our time with spiritual things that wouldn’t make a difference as we let them into the most intimate parts of us – our conversations with God.
Trusting God means taking a risk so big that if God didn’t come through, it would end in failure. It means following Him into uncharted territory because we believe His promises and know He will not abandon us on the journey. At its heart, the whole Bible is a story of risk and God’s risks to love us, and we know that the Christian life is also a life of risk when we surrender ourselves to His ways.
In 2 Samuel 6, David dances without his outer garments and without abandon as the Ark of the Lord enters Jerusalem. Some may have thought he looked ridiculous. They may have misunderstood him. Certainly, some were embarrassed by him. He risked people thinking he was undignified as a king, and his wife Michal looked upon David as a fool, but according to David, worshiping the Lord wholeheartedly was a risk worth taking. His response to Michal’s condemnation was this: “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (2 Samuel 6:21-22) In other words, they hadn’t seen anything yet! David was pledging his life to recklessly worshiping God! His wild worship honored God and brought God’s richest blessings upon the nation. The biggest blessing of all was that the Messiah would eventually come from David’s family!
May your risks be great knowing that God is greater, and He will follow through on every promise He’s made in His Word. Next time fear and worry creep up at your door, invite Jesus in instead and allow Him to be the master of your heart. Your next great opportunity to serve, worship, and lead may bring God’s richest blessings. I’m not afraid to let people see my relationship with my Heavenly Father, even the tear-soaked, prayerful moments of worship, because those are God’s moments to use for His glory.