Predicament, a noun meaning an unpleasantly difficult, perplexing, or dangerous situation.
Stepping out can often feel perplexing. When God asks you to do something you have never done before, the fear and insecurities make you feel like what He is asking of you is unpleasantly difficult. As I looked at the definition for predicament, I started to write, God will never place you in a dangerous situation, but I had to stop.
There are many missionaries and people who have stepped out in obedience and stepped into a dangerous situation. Persecution is not safe, and it is a reality that many Christians face. Many people are in a predicament where standing up for Christ, stepping out in faith, can cost them their life. While most Christians in that situation, are willing to step into eternity if required, sometimes the cost is greater.
Giving up your life for Christ is a cost we have all been to asked to pay; although for most, it doesn’t usually end in physical death. Matthew 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Many believers find themselves in a predicament where their family is the one paying with their lives. New York Times shared of several missionaries who paid this price:
In India, in 1999, an Australian missionary, Graham Staines, and his two sons, Philip, 10, and Timothy, 6, were burned to death by a radical Hindu group. In the Philippines, in 2001, an American missionary couple, Martin and Gracia Burnham, were kidnapped by the Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. Mrs. Burnham was eventually reunited with her children, who stayed behind in the United States, but her husband was killed in a gun battle between his captors and soldiers. (Schaefer, Naomi. “Religion Journal; For Missionaries With Children, the Calling vs. the Danger.” The New York Times, 29 Nov. 2003.)
We have to count the cost of serving God and even more so in stepping out. Jesus preached on this because He didn’t want His followers to find themselves in a predicament where they can’t finish.
““If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-33 ESV
I do hope that God never puts me in a predicament where My family is the one at risk if I step out. I know that if He does He will give us the grace to walk through that situation. I can not expect to have the grace to walk through something that God has not called me to step into. We all have to count the cost of stepping out.
What I am learning in this growth process is that we also have to count the cost of not stepping out. Predicaments don’t just come from stepping out, they also happen when we don’t step out. When we decide not to step out, we have to count that cost too. Costs like:
- Quenching the Spirit
- Missing an opportunity where a person dies without the Lord
- Missing the opportunity to lead someone to Christ
- Being a roadblock to backsliding in the life of another believer
- Bring an agent of change in the life of another, to help them grow in their relationship with Christ, or healing in a relationship, or in growing their spiritual gifts.
Every action and inaction has a cost. Whether we step out for the Lord, or shrink back, there is a consequence. We are not responsible for the actions of others, but we are responsible for what the Lord tells us to do. We have to live with the consequence. So regardless of the predicament we find ourselves in, we have to count the cost.
This post is part of a 28 days series on Stepping Out inspired by the #Write28Days Blogging Challenge by Anita Ojeda.