Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life on the Edge of Sanity

We had an invigorating discussion in our small group Wednesday night that has left me contemplating this all week: How do we know when we are called by God to do something that some would consider foolish or unwise? Or another way to put it, should we be careful to protect our family from risk in this life?

One member of our group was concerned that Christians sometimes throw all caution to the wind, abandon their sense of security (or reason) and take on crazy endeavors-- all because they believe God has called them to it.

No doubt, many of us have known professing Christians who do wacky things, things even outside the boundaries of the Bible, proclaiming a calling from God has put them on that path. But I think we were wrestling over something more complicated than that. At what cost to ourselves, our spouse and our children do we follow what we think God has 'called' us to? I don't know the answer, but here's what M and I thought about as we were contemplating adopting four kids at once.

Looking back on the past 10 years of our marriage and even watching the lives of family and friends around us, we wondered, is there such a thing as 'security' in this life? Do our actions and decisions really influence whether we will avoid calamities, stress, heartache or disaster? The answer was clearly 'no'. We looked back over the past year in our own life. We had experienced severe financial loss. Like a tsunami with no warning system in place, a horrible housing market took almost everything. We had crossed all our 't's' and dotted all our 'i's' but God had another plan.

And we thought about friends and family we knew who had cushioned their life carefully with retirement savings, frugal spending, and a careful avoidance of risk: Just a few kids, not too many; save enough money for college; work the extra hours for the bigger house; take nice vacations each year. But God found them in their soft and easy lives and said, 'I love you too much to let you remain the person you are right here, in this place you have made for yourself. Dear child, I will refine you.' And then came the heat.

Coming to this realization -- that God's sovereignty would bring the storms no matter what sort of tree you hide under freed us up to open a door that could potentially have some difficult things looming behind it. There are so many unknowns in adopting children. But, aren't there unknowns in all of our lives? What will happen to you, your spouse, your children in 2009?

We concluded that life on the edge of sanity might end up being the most sane place after all. Following the call of Christ to love and care for the orphan suddenly seemed 'safe', safe as any other choice. If the Lord is with us, what have we to lose?

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:25-27


The Andersons said...

Well said, Beth. Fantastic post - we're right there with you.

Dorinda said...

I completely agree. And so very often we set plans for ourselves that we think are safe (like us when we went for just one more child) and the Lord says, "I have something SO much more incredible for you!" and blessed us with three more! Now we are a big family in a small family world and you know what? I love every minute and you will too. Even the hard times. Even the times when you wonder what in the world you were thinking you will be grateful for what the Lord has placed in your lives.

Jennifer Huard said...

Very well said and so true.

Lori said...

Hi, my name is Lori and I was directed to your blog by a friend that said you lived in Colorado Springs. I know this is late, but a couple other moms adopting from Ethiopia are having a play date Wed at 10:00. If you would like more information please e-mail me at We would love to meet you.

Great post by the way, this is exactly what my husband and I are struggling through. Thanks for sharing.

Kristin said...

Amen! That's the truth. Your post is an encouragement to me!

KR said...

Beth & Motte-
I wanted to comment on this post, but couldn't come up with anything other than "great post", so I didn't bother.

Then, last night I was reading Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life" and read the following:

"Risk is right. And the reason is not because God promises success to all our ventures in his cause. There is no promise that every effort for the cause of God will succeed, at least not in the short run. John the Baptist risked calling King Herod an adulterer when he divorced his own wife in order to take his brother’s wife. For this John got his head chopped off. And he had done right to risk his life for the cause of God and truth. Jesus had no criticism for him, only the highest praise (Matthew 11:11).

Paul risked going up to Jerusalem to complete his ministry to the poor. He was beaten and thrown in prison for two years and then shipped off to Rome and executed there two years later. And he did right to risk his life for the cause of Christ. How many graves are there in Africa and Asia because thousands of young missionaries were freed by the power of the Holy Spirit from the enchantment of security and then risked their lives to make much of Christ among the unreached peoples of the world!

And now what about you? Are you caught in the enchantment of security, paralyzed from taking any risks for the cause of God? Or have you been freed by the power of the Holy Spirit from the mirage of Egyptian safety and comfort? Do you men ever say with Joab, “For the sake of the name, I’ll try it! And may the Lord do what seems good to him”? Do you women ever say with Esther, “For the sake of Christ, I’ll try it! And if I perish, I perish”? (89-90) "

That's exactly what I wanted to say ;-)

sara said...


I absolutely agree - that God calls us beyond comfortable! He calls us to reach out for extraordinary and to step out of the boat :)