This wind is like a young man, vigorous, and powerful – taunting the large oak tree across the street. The oak’s branches strain as their leaves ripple – smaller branches, crack and give way, littering the lawn. The wind keeps whipping through the oak overhanging our driveway also shook loose small branches, leaves, and twigs.
Yet, it hasn’t harmed me.
I enjoy the luxury of waiting in sheltered place for the wind to calm down – looking out on another outstanding April day in Texas: sunny, not too warm – if you don’t have to do yard work, or land a plane. It’s a simple mercy to have time to wait this wind out. Others have to be out and about their business and risk getting hit, or being hurt.
I think of many folks today who can’t hide from the relentless gusts in their lives. Many Japanese and Haitian people have to keep struggling, as do people caught up in wars and uprisings that abound in today’s world. They haven’t the luxury of waiting out the winds that have swept into their lives. Instead they have to clear and sweep up the debris – bury their dead – while getting hit and hurt.
It’s not only overseas. Many Americans saw this week what a tornado can do. Children were murdered today – and their families have no place to hide. Life is hard: people are dying for a drink; men and women lost their jobs; girls saw pregnancy tests that came back positive; children ran away from their parents; and parents couldn't or wouldn't care for their children – these folks don’t have the shelter or time to remark on the force of a spring wind.
They need help – and helping involves risk. It’s not always safe, or easy to help these folks get going again in the midst of their storms. Hearing sirens in the distance while I writing reminds me someone is speeding to help another person – taking a risk.
But, they are trained and equipped . . .
How much preparation did the good Samaritan have? What did he have that I lack? He saw a need, and used what he had, and took a risk that would cost him more. (Luke 10:30-37)
If I still hesitate to take risks, Dwight L. Moody, a voice from the nineteenth century, sounds like he knew the twenty-first century’s traps: “True will power and courage is not on the battlefield, but in everyday conquests over our inertia, laziness, boredom.”
And Robert Louis Stevenson, no stranger to suffering had an answer for those of us who are risk averse:
The world has no room for cowards. We must all be ready somehow to toil, to suffer, to die. And yours is not the less noble because no drum beats before you when you go out into your daily battle fields, and no crowds shout about your coming when you return from your daily victory or defeat.
Where can I go? What can I do? I can’t go halfway around the world – nor can I roar off to the inner city or restore downed power lines. I can, however, move out of my comfort zone – even few feet into a world that is crazier and crazier – and more treacherous. The good Samaritan let go of a little time, and some money and cared for a wounded man, in a dangerous part of his world. He took a risk.