A man and a woman meet at a church function, and soon catch each other's eye. They've seen each other at different events a few times, but have never spoken to each other. But they'd like to. For each, the other seems faithful to the Lord, kind, bright, and interesting.
But there will be no conversation without a little risk. One of them needs to take a risk in order to break the ice. What if the other is uninterested? That would sting!
And each step of the way of their unfolding relationship all the way to an eventual marriage proposal. There is no progress in the relationship without someone taking a risk - the risk of starting the conversation, the risk of asking someone out, the risk of the first handhold and then the risk of the first kiss. Then the risk of saying the L-word, and the risk of a question that could change the rest of one's entire life. Once asked, the question cannot be un-asked. Risk.
There is no deep, authentic love without a series of risks. Without risks, relationships are safe ... and shallow.
We say we love God (and we do). But what role is risktaking in loving God? He's not fickle and we know He loves us without condition, so there's no risk there. He's utterly reliable, so that's not a risk, either.
But I contend that even with God, there is no deep, authentic love without a series of risks. And when we're unwilling to take those risks, our relationship with Him remains in the shallow end of the pool.
Will I risk my eternal destiny on a promise based on an event I didn't see for myself? Will I risk some rejection from my peers in order to remain a faithful follower of Jesus? Will I take the risk of truly confessing my sins and repenting, and then genuinely asking God to change me? Will I risk something not working out as I like, or will I try to do God's job for Him (again)? Will I risk being betrayed after making myself vulnerable to someone else? Will I risk judgment by admitting to others my sin (as appropriate)?
And so on. Any number of risks. Faith isn't faith if there is no level of risk. But more than that, there is no depth of relationship with God without risk.
Yes, God asks us to risk. Of course He does. Because He wants us to love Him deeply.
(Image: By Gerhard Grabner - Foto im Auftrag des Springers, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15814193)