"O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18)
It's a risk to stand up for what we believe to be the truth. It's a risk to have faith in someone and hope that that someone helps us in our time of need.
It was a risk that the three brothers in the book of Daniel took in God rather than succumb to idol worship. They new they would be sentenced to die by the king for disobeying his law. And because they believed in their God, they were saved from a fiery and gruesome death. It was well worth the risk!
Jesus Christ knew the risks when He began preaching the Word to the people of the Roman Empire. He risked His life for us. He was a rebel and a non-conformist Who defied the laws and traditions of His time. He took such a risk in order to save us from eternal sin and damnation.
Jesus Christ recruited fishermen and women rather than rich and educated men because He knew that they would carry on His ministry long after He was gone. They knew the risk of following Him. And so his followers themselves became rebels and non-conformists all in His name. They preached the Word to all who desired to believe in something more than what they had at that time. Paul, Peter, James, Matthew and the Samaritan women and the women who washed Christ's feet with her tears risked exile and death rather than deny Christ. The saints who came after the Apostles also risked exile and death rather than deny Him.
Are you a rebel and non-conformist in His name? Have you risked your hearts and souls for faith and love in Him? I have and failed miserably. I failed because I had pride in my faith in God. I built up such a wall of pride that I couldn't see my own Heart.
When I failed, I felt so alone that I was heartbroken. I was heartbroken until I finally listened and heard the knock on my Heart's door. I answered the call and took the risk to truly become His child. I'm inspired to believe in Him openly and amongst the sins of this world. I have faith that I will not die but live eternally in His Love.
I reflect on the journey and see that it was long and difficult and full of risk and I fell many times. But Christ was there to pick me up and carry me when I needed Him. I still see that the journey has not ended yet. I see the difficulties ahead and relish the challenge that God and I will make of them.
With every Lenten season I take a risk with my heart. I lived my life without taking a risk and almost died a living death. I believed and found my Life in God. I had faith and my life is flourishing in God. I live each day for Him as if it was my last. Nothing is impossible with God. He is the be All and the end All. It is a risk that I know I must take. How about you?
Lia Lewis is a graduate of Holy Cross Orthodox Seminary. She lives, works, writes and takes risks in New Jersey.