23 Aug 2022
As we prepare to head overseas, one of the recurring questions we face is: “What is our risk quotient?” So many decisions are dictated by this simple capacity. Some believe this is a natural inclination we are born with, but we have found that it is something that God can increase as you walk by faith.
The path God has set our family on means we face the risk of being a victim of violent crime, imprisonment, or deportation; the risk of an uncertain future in old age; the risk of substandard education and/or cultural identity issues for our son; the risk of being forgotten and lonely; and the risk of failure in the eyes of Christians.
We take care to mitigate risks; (for example, one of us may stay home at times to mitigate the risk of our child being orphaned) but there is still a back and forth, push and pull, in the heart and mind as God’s promises and priorities push to dilute our human fears and imaginings.
Risk quotient is all about counting the cost. How much are you willing to pay?
Three things affect our risk quotient:
1. Understanding who benefits from the risk.
If the beneficiary is someone we love, we often find a resolve and courage no matter what the cost. Giving up my savings for my child’s education seems more palatable than doing the same for a stranger. Do we love the nameless, faceless lost as much as ourselves? This changes how we see the risks related to serving them.
2. Understanding other risks and costs.
No one would recommend letting an untrained young person take up a gun, with no supervision, and start shooting people. This is not wise. But this is exactly what is happening in Ukraine. Yet no one objects because there are other risks at play. Wisdom ought to be contextualised.
3. Understanding probability and consequence.
We have all been conditioned to think with a mental risk matrix – weighing the probability of a risk against the consequence. And, while God’s creation provides scientifically predictable outcomes to many things, our matrices do not factor in God’s sovereignty. Is death a catastrophe or gain (Philippians 1:21)? Can you avoid harm through planning or is harm the plan (Revelation 2:10)?
Indeed, God’s sovereignty is our rock as we walk into risk and, in trial or catastrophe, it is the pillow on which we lay our heads and rest (Spurgeon).
A & R, preparing to serve with Pioneers Australia
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