As I write this final post on “The Risk Hangover” I cannot but stop and think of all the risks I have taken. I once heard a quote that the odds are in your favor if you take a risk, in fact, they are 50%. Not that bad if you really think about it. And here I am now sitting in my car at the airport waiting to pick up a dear friend after risking a lot to get here.
It all started at work when I ran an end-of-day report at the last second, which caused me to be ten minutes behind on getting to the airport. Then, as I neared Atlanta, I hit traffic. Typical. Thoughts began to flood my mind of, did I really screw up the timing on this and now I am going to hit the thunderstorms right as I get into downtown. Sure enough, the traffic got worse and hail and rain began to fall. Not only that, but a tornado warning was issued and I was stuck in 7 lanes of traffic. Perfect!
Just as I cleared downtown and was almost to the airport, my friend texted me to say his flight was now diverted to Nashville until the weather got better. Great! I was only 5 minutes out from the airport and decided it was better to just go ahead and head to the free parking lot at the airport. As I got off the exit ramp I noticed what seemed like a huge bomb of water exploding as a car plowed through the flooded exit ramp. It was too late to stop, so I did what Dad and all those defensive driving classes taught me to do; ride it out and don’t touch the brakes. I was going to risk it.
As I hit the flooded road, I prayed I would not hit the car next to me. I could not see anything with all the water spraying around me and my wheels left the pavement and coasted on the water. Stay the course, Trent! I did not freak out and did not slam on the brakes. I hit solid ground and my beautiful Pontiac Vibe kept going ahead. Crisis averted! I gave Jesus a quick double-tap on the roof of my car and kept going.
As I pulled into the waiting car lot, my car began to make a lot of loud weird noises. Maybe I did not make it through unscathed. Great! This is what you get for risking it, Trent! So I sat in the car trying to figure out my game plan. I checked in with my friend and he was back on his way to Atlanta. Now, I needed to figure out what was wrong with my car. I got out of the car and walked over to the right-passenger wheel. A piece of the backing around the tire that catches rain water splashed up from the road had come loose. I prodded it, whimpered at the thought of more money going down the drain and went back and sat in the car. After awhile I laughed at myself. Trent, it could be far worse. You could have torn up the engine or wrecked. So I sat a few more minutes until the rain was gone and then decided to give it another try. I got out and looked over the right wheel and then walked over to the left. I felt around the left tire wheel so I could know what that piece was like when it was in the right place. I walked back over to the right wheel and began to pull and prod. Then I would go back to the left wheel and used my flashlight to see if I was getting the piece closer into its right position. I did this a few times until I felt like it was almost back to normal. I fixed it. I made a lot of risks and God got me through it.
When we take risks, there are always consequences. Whether good or bad, it is all about how you react to those consequences. I made a choice. Things seemed fine after I made them, but then consequences to that choice soon arose. Millennials do not have to take many risks, in fact, my example above in hindsight does not seem that risky, but at the time it felt like life or death.
Like I mentioned in part two, risks should not be seen as something like requesting to be a friend with someone on social media, but something a little bit bigger like joining a small group or community group at the library or recreation center. Maybe it is time to leave a job that you are comfortable with or volunteer at the local food pantry. Regardless, risk requires you to not stay the way you are. Instead, risk shapes us into who we are. It builds character and gives us scars. Risk-taking is also a sign of obedience. It is a chance to trust that God is who he says he is and his will is better than ours. It is also a chance to show others that we regard God’s plan for our life higher than our own plan. Our weathered egos and bodies are signs of a life of many risks, but also of a life well-lived. Our generation needs more weathered risk-takers. I hope you will be one of them.
“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city. We will spend a year there. We will buy and sell and make money.” You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little while. Then it disappears. Instead, you should say, “If it pleases the Lord, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 NIRV
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? . . . do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” . . . your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25, 31-33 ESV
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 ESV