Safe terror.

When I was working on my goals for the year, my 99 goals, here’s one thing I wrote: Make 300 words a primary resource for people wanting to learn safely about the terrors of following Jesus.

When I look at that goal now, I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote it. I have no idea why I phrased it the way I did. I’m not sure where “terror” came from. But I like it. A lot.

Because following Jesus is terrifying.

  • Sometimes in an exhilarating way, kind of like Peter might have felt when he climbed out of the boat and started walking across to Jesus.*
  • Sometimes in a gut-wrenching way, kind of like when we hear Jesus saying that people will hate us the way they hated him, and we know what they did to him.
  • Sometimes in ego-shattering ways, when we realize that we have to quit trying to run everything. Everything. And we realize that we don’t know Jesus well enough to know whether we can trust him to run everything.

So a lot of what I write here is to help us explore some of those terrifying things. Not so much to remove the terror, but to eliminate the misunderstandings we have because we never were able to look at the words of Jesus with breath in them. Because our only pictures of the disciples are caricatures. Because we fell asleep when someone was preaching. Because someone taught one thing and slept with someone else.

I’ve got a long way to go to reach my goal. But I wanted to let you know where I was going. So you can help. Because, after all, what makes a place safe is the community.

We need to know what terrifies you. And why you follow anyway.


*Here’s a video version of the Peter story.

9 thoughts on “Safe terror.

  1. Curt Liechty

    “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

    “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

    —CS Lewis


  2. Frank Reed

    I grew up in an environment where I learned that trust was scary because people let me down. Not always because they were bad but just because they are people. Sin is a powerful thing and now I know that people are just not perfect so being let down just happens.

    So what terrifies me is this knowing that I can do nothing BUT trust in a God that I cannot see or touch or audibly converse with. But I know how my heart responds to His word and how the world makes sense when I am close to Him. It is VERY real yet nothing I can physically hold (which I guess is way of asking for a magic trick from Christ).

    Thus I have to trust in Him and that terrifies me but I follow because I cannot deny grace and mercy. It’s just too real.


  3. Rich Dixon

    What terrifies me about following? Not REALLY following.

    In a consumer culture focused on ease and comfort I can cherry-pick that parts I like and conveniently ignore the rest. I don’t HAVE to step out of the boat, so too often I don’t, unless there’s something in it for me.

    And He loves me anyway.


  4. Pingback: 99 goals for 2011 – a planning exercise | 300 words a day

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