Well I went for a bike ride again this evening. Something I enjoy and good exercise, but tonight I also had to think about the weather. It was obvious from the radar that some heavy rain was going to be going through this evening and the only question was could I get my bike ride in before the rain? I can tell you that I tried. And I can tell you that the answer is no, I got caught in a complete downpour.
The reason I mention this is because we have to take risks in all parts of our lives, including our spiritual lives. In pretty much every case when you love someone you are taking the risk of being rejected or taken advantage of. In trying to help someone we realize that in some cases we may be taken advantage of (I just received an e-mail asking that I send an iTunes card to someone for their sick niece – I am pretty sure it is a scam) and in other cases when we are trying to help someone we can actually hurt them by enabling them in a harmful way. We need to be careful, and realize that risks are involved in everything, but also realize what are the true things to be worried about when considering our risks?
Going out for the bike ride of course I was worried about it raining. But why does that matter? The first thing, of course, is that I would get wet. But actually once I was wet the rain felt kind of nice, I wasn’t getting any wetter and it was a lot cooler than things were the last few days. The real risks were in falling or getting hit. Of course I don’t have as much control on the wet pavement, especially when the water is running over an inch deep in some areas and I can’t even see what is under it. My brakes don’t work very well and there is always the fact that I can’t see as well either. And none of that even considers the risk of being hit by the cars who also can’t see as well and aren’t exactly expecting a bicycle out in the rainstorm. Or that a car may only see me at the last minute and swerve out of the way putting himself in danger. And the smaller risks outside of getting hit is the fact that rain isn’t necessarily good for my bike, so I will have to consider lubricating my bike chain and looking over the cables and other parts that might be affected by the water.
I mention those things because we need to consider the risks and the real concerns in other things in our lives too. Like getting wet in the rain really isn’t a concern in itself, but we can build it up to be one, how worried do we get about risking what others might think about us and our pride in relation to what is really important? Are we satisfied if someone asked for money and we gave them some because we were generous, yet did we even consider if this is really what is good for them? Could it lead them to sin or other harm? Groups like the St. Vincent de Paul Society take the time to try and understand a person’s real needs. And is my gift really just from all of the surplus in my life, or I do I really have to forego something I care about? When I pray do I just consider what time this might take? Do I hope God will give me what I ask for? Or am I willing to hear what God might ask of me? There are risks in all parts of our lives, we need to be aware of and take the right ones.