A couple of events in recent months have caused us to be mindful of the risks we face every day. When we are enjoying our backyard banana trees, or our frontyard swimming pool, it’s easy to ignore the “dangers” lurking in the cries for help around us.
And then we hear another story that reminds us.
Whether it’s listening to friends retell of a late night attempted robbery that left their home riddled with bullet holes and their sleep plagued with nightmares… or learning of a missionary put in jail for simply being behind the wheel when a drunk, speeding, unlicensed motorcyclist hit his truck. In the later case the other driver died, and the missionary was required to pay his family a year’s wages and the price of the bike (totaling several thousand dollars) within 15 days to avoid the years-long jail sentence.
“That’s not fair!” we cry. “It wasn’t his fault!”
No, it wasn’t. And everyone knows that. But this is the way it is, nevertheless. The missionary I mentioned had the bigger vehicle, and the most money, so the culpability falls to him. I wonder if maybe there’s some deep truth in that logic. After all, Matthew 25 tells us:
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'”The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Nevertheless, it is a risk every driver in Nicaragua takes when he gets behind the wheel. Being involved in a traffic accident that causes a fatality is tragic, in more ways than one. And yet, perhaps the greater risk comes from letting the fear of these what-ifs keep us from living or from believing they only exist outside of our passport country.
Because in reality, we faced similar risks back in the States. For example, we welcomed foster kids into our home for several years before moving to Central America. At any point, if one of those kids had accused either of us of abuse, we would have faced some pretty serious repercussions… Indeed, we would have been guilty until proven innocent, at least in the eyes of the department of social services. All of our kids (not just foster) would likely have been removed from our home, while an investigation ensued. And even if we were ultimately found innocent, we would have paid a steep price in terms of the shadow of doubt such accusations bring to the entire family. This was a very real threat that unfortunately did affect others in our area.
“That’s not fair!” we cry. “It wasn’t their fault!”
“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.” — David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
The risk is great, but so is the reward.