Is God Calling You to Step Out of Comfort and into Faith?
When I was a child, amusement parks were not the big business they are today. We actually were required to find ways to entertain ourselves that were free or inexpensive at least. When we would visit home, in eastern Kentucky, I spent more hours than I can remember searching for those special places where wild grapevines grew in profusion among the hardwood trees.
The ideal grapevine was one that grew in such a way that we could swing on it to the other side of a ravine or across a swimming hole. The vine had to be large enough to support our weight, but small enough that we could wrap our child-sized hands around it.
The fear of falling only heightened our excitement of swinging far above the ground in what appeared to us to be a gravity-defying stunt. It was a far cry from the g-forces generated by today’s mega-coasters at modern amusement parks, but for us, it was fantastic entertainment. I carry memories of those times as trophies of a day well spent.
We learned a valuable life lesson. There is risk that accompanies every reward. Although death or dismemberment was unlikely, there still abided the unmistakable thrill of the fleeting through our plummeting onto the rocks that always seemed to be lurking under the ideal grapevines. Somehow, we managed to survive.
The risk and reward conundrum illustrates one of the dilemmas and some might say one of the mysteries of the human condition. We may fear risk, and yet we are attracted to it, even fascinated by it. How else can popular activities be explained? The masses seek the adrenaline rush of ventures like base and bungee jumping, parachuting, motorcycle racing, mountain climbing, and transoceanic sailing, that are inherently risky. What about the risks involved in gambling (including lottery tickets), or, for that matter, a friendly game of backgammon or bridge?
We may enjoy the temporary thrill of risk taking, but we seek safety. If we are realistic, we come to realize we can never create nor find anywhere on earth a 100% safe environment.
Recent headlines confirm that none of these places can guarantee or even assure safety. If the threat of violence isn’t enough to give you pause about venturing out, consider the recent pandemic and remember a terrified populace sequestering themselves inside their homes and suspecting everyone they encountered of being a potential vector of a deadly contagion. Sadly for some, the trauma of COVID 19 has made many such changes in behavior permanent.
All of these factors have conspired to cause people to become exceedingly defensive and afraid—far beyond normalcy. I believe what we are now witnessing to be the result of something taking place below the surface and behind the scenes and that it is of more than simply human origin. We live in a fallen world.
In the genesis of God’s creation, there was but a singular risk; one that God created in man. It was this: God so valued freedom that he gave mankind free moral agency. Adam had the God-given gift and ability to choose. As we know, he made a wrong choice, and wound his moral clock backward. He sided with God’s great archenemy, Satan, and swung open the door for death, disease, decay, and destruction to enter the earth and human experience. We have been plagued by the effects of the disobedient choice of our pristine parents in the garden and the subsequent fall ever since.
Human persons have a built-in desire to preserve our lives—to seek safety. Yet we also have a built-in desire to express ourselves, to create, and to experience freedom from the constraints that staying safe so often demands. How do we square this circle?
The prevailing impulse is to demand safety for ourselves, regardless of the cost. We seem to have forgotten that they possess the same free moral agency which Adam had. That is, we can make choices, and choices have consequences.
No nation on earth has attained the level of material and financial security that we have enjoyed in the United States of America. You would think we would be the most grateful nation in the world.
Unfortunately, you would be wrong. Greed, rather than gratitude, has become the fundamental motivating principle for a countless multitude. Americans are intoxicated with “things” and they love their stuff. Our neighbors will do anything to acquire more possessions and property, personal effects and paraphernalia, clothing, cars, trucks and trailers, thingamajigs and thingamabobs, doohickeys and doodads, whether they need them or not. This is nothing more than idolatry. It may not involve kneeling down to a statue, but it is equally idolatrous in God’s eyes. We are truly in a crisis of comfort in America and in the Church. May God awaken us from our slumber at ease in Zion. May we, as Gideon, destroy these idols as he destroyed the altars of Baal and cut down the unholy Asherah poles.
To read more from Rod Parsley's Idolatry in America, visit MyCharismaShop.com