Risk and risking seem like such adventurous words to me. Cliff Jumping, mountain hikes, hanging off a boat…they all bring a visceral sense of risk. They also conjure up images of escape. All those high adrenaline gambles sometimes help me escape from reality. Not all the time, but sometimes. Mostly, to risk is a deeply personal choice to engage in something that requires a lot of strength and faith.

That’s how it was for Joseph, believing against all hope that his marriage to Mary wasn’t a mistake. How terrible it must have felt to welcome his bride back from a visit to her cousin’s only to find she’s pregnant. We know his heart broke and was torn. Imagine his confusion maybe even anger, when the angel came in a dream saying things were exactly as they should be. How could that be? Yet Joseph went ahead and married Mary.

I see risk in Simeon, waiting his entire life to see a promise fulfilled. Can you picture an old man, frail and weary from years of watching people come and go in his life? But his eyes! They shine with a twinkling light. He hasn’t forgotten, nor failed to believe the words God spoke to him all those years ago. Twinkling faith turned to burning hope that ordinary, simple day when a young family showed up at the temple.

And I see it in the Magi who came from Persia. They saw a star, that somehow had significance apart from all the others, followed it a year to worship a God whom they did not know. They must have felt so stupid every time they explained themselves to the travelers on the road. You can picture how awkward that conversation would have been. But still, they pressed on.

Isn’t that what risky faith is? Daring against hope and logic following a path that logic dictates is foolhardy? To me, risking anything is a deeply relational thing. It’s funny, even as I think about this in my own life, risk is one of the words God uses with me. There have been many times in the past few years that God has asked me to “gamble on His goodness.” He asked me to remember that my faith has a purpose and will be brought to fruition. That if I continue to follow that star off in the distance, I will see something wonderful. That’s a scary thing, and I don’t always believe the circumstances of the walk are worth the marvel at the end. But often I find I have faith enough to risk walking one more step, waiting one more day, and believing enough, for now, to keep risking it.

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