Wednesday, May 7, 2008

God Provides Us Great Opportunities

Is it your fondest wish to live a life where everything goes right, health and wealth come easily, and you never encounter danger--

--or would you rather do great things for God?

Most of us would rather have it both ways! We want challenges--as long as there's no doubt about overcoming them quickly. We dream of winning the world for Christ--but hope that achievement wins popular acclaim rather than persecution.

And, to paraphrase an old saying about wealth, everybody knows that easy lives lead to weak character, but everyone wants the chance to prove him/herself the exception to the rule.

You may have heard that when the Chinese word for "crisis" is written out, one can see the words for both "danger" and "opportunity" inside it. God's best opportunities do have an annoying tendency to come in moments of crisis, paired with danger. Look at Daniel, faced with a death sentence for publicly acknowledging God; Esther, risking her head to speak up on her people's behalf; Paul, whose life as a missionary was full of hardships and persecutions. There are still Christians who literally risk their lives to worship; even when the worst likely to happen is virulent public criticism, many believers love their comfort and reputations more. It doesn't even have to be human opposition that scares us away from God's dangerous opportunities; fear of failure, of wasting our time and money and looking foolish in the bargain, is enough for many of us.

But it makes no sense to complain that God never asks us to do anything important, if we're going to say "no" when He does ask.

God provides us great opportunities
To grow strong in our faith in Him,
But we turn and run,
For they tend to come
Looking risky, costly, and grim.

God provides us great opportunities
To reach out with amazing deeds,
But no fruit will grow
When we shun the hoe
'Cause it's too much work to plant seeds.

God provides us great opportunities
To do grand and brave things for Him,
But we freeze in fear
With the Red Sea near,
And we whine that we just can't swim.

Take a look at God's opportunities:
See how many we let pass by.
Oh, our faith is small,
We who doubt His call,
Still refusing even to try!

Our great Lord of all opportunities
Waits to step in and help us through,
But it's only when
We step out for Him
That we learn all that He can do!

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