Monday, 6 July 2020

Daring Risk

Recently countless people around the world mourned the passing of Ravi Zacharias, Christian apologist and founder of RZIM. When I heard this news, I thought how much poorer humanity was for this loss. I was equally moved by the extraordinary legacy he left, fuelled by his heart to respectfully and compassionately seek out the questioner behind each question: helping the believer think and the thinker believe.

The start of his legacy can be traced to a step of faith and obedience when, as a seventeen-year-old, God met him on a bed of suicide. He vowed to leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of truth. In hindsight we see an extraordinary life, but as he began stepping out in the early years of his journey, I expect he faced many obstacles. His obedience to the call of God on his life may have been seen as risky, for the potential cost it could incur.
Photo Credit Elijah Hiett @elijahhiett- Unsplash
The more I reflect on this, it seems risk is often a companion of obedience, and obedience to God (with all its risks) a companion of legacy: Dare we trust His version of our lives over our own?

As Christian writers, our lives encompass much more than our writing journeys, but in the writing context I believe the coupling of risk and obedience can be evident as we dare to write truth in a culture that is aggressively post-truth.

Whatever genre, I suspect many of us can recall a moment we’ve felt the risk of writing what the Holy Spirit’s laid upon our hearts. It may not have been hot sweats and clammy palms (although it could have been that too), but I’m sure you’re familiar with that tussle of “dare I?”.

It could be an open reference to faith in your general market novel. It could be cutting that risqué scene that would make your story “edgier”. It could be including those uncomfortable, gritty elements that honestly portray humanity at its lowest. It could be letting yourself be vulnerable enough to write about your own brokenness. It could be putting down the pen for a few hours on a tight schedule to remind a child they’re well loved. It could be writing into a new genre. It could be using the word sin to depict the flaw that runs through every human heart, for which the only cure is a Saviour who willingly gave all to rescue us from our sinful condition and recklessly pursues us with His love.

Each of our writing journeys are different, as are the wrestles we face. We can each write a legacy that touches a different part of our inherently broken world. Fact is, being counter-cultural is very risky, no matter how gracious you are (and gracious isn’t really my strongest point—working on it!).

The question is, dare we be obedient to penning words that make us tremble when they’re whispered into our heart from the ultimate Creator? What if those words risk public humiliation? What if they risk being misunderstood? What if they risk losing friends or being shunned by family? What if they risk losing possessions?

What might we risk by our obedience to His drawing?

Then again, what might the souls those words reach gain? Could they be words that point a searching heart towards truth?
Photo Credit - Ben White @benwhitephotography - Unsplash
Fact is, we all blow it and are all largely risk averse, but I am confident in the kindness and mercy of a God of second chances. I also believe each step of obedience to Him can write a lasting legacy. It may not seem much at the time. We may never know the impact of our written words. But who knows what legacy we’ll leave when we’ve passed from this life to eternity, if we but dare take a risk.

Adele Jones is a Queensland based, award winning author. She writes young adult and historical novels, poems, inspirational non-fiction and fiction short works, along with juggling family responsibilities and a ‘real job’ in the field of science. Her first YA novel Integrate was awarded the 2013 CALEB Prize for unpublished manuscript. Her writing explores issues of social justice, humanity, faith, natural beauty and meaning in life’s journey, and as a speaker she seeks present a practical and encouraging message by drawing on these themes. For more visit or


  1. “A culture that is aggressively post-truth” Wow. That phrase powerfully sums up our world. Thanks for your insightful words Adele. Let us be strong and courageous and shine His light in our dark treacherous society until His light and His power prevail.

    1. How I love those words, Jo, to be strong and courageous in shining His light in our world, and I believe the promises spoken through Moses directly after that command, and repeated to Joshua, echo through the ages: "Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Obedience to His call may take strength and courage, but we do not go alone.

  2. Thank you, Adele, for your thoughtful words here. Someone commented on my own blog recently, 'You miss 100% of the shots you don't take', and these words have stuck with me, even as I keep second guessing myself with my current novel! Keep risking putting your own words out there--you have a great, strong writing style.

    1. This is brilliant, Jo-Anne! I'll have to keep that saying close at hand as I'm presented with decision points in life. What an exciting, creative season you are in, with a fair amount of wrestling by the sounds. I'm confident you will thread together just the right words, like beads, to create a beautiful story of heart-capturing hope. Looking forward to celebrating this new release in the coming period.

  3. Only just yesterday did I have to talk to myself about some hard truths and do I dare take that leap?

    I believe those times when God puts something on your heart and you struggle to obey him, you need to work through the struggle with kindness. You need to work through your feelings, identify them and coax them with understanding and positivity in order to step out of your comfort zone.

    We need to treat ourselves with kindness and understanding, especially when we are fighting against ourselves to do God's good works.

    1. Sounds like you're right in the "dare I?" zone, Kirsten. I like that thought of giving ourselves permission to grapple with all aspects of that "dare I?" struggle, whilst being kind to ourselves. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for a great article, Adele. Yes, I constantly face the need to decide 'Is this too "full on" ', 'will it just turn people off' and yet I too, want to reach people with truth. As I am not a self-publisher, I face the risk that no publisher will want to publish what I write and I may even upset friends. I have really enjoyed your books thus far. Thanks!

  5. I agree it's a challenge, Jeanette, and I've struggled finding the right balance in my writing too, at times. In hindsight, I sometimes feel I've not got some of those "dare I?" moments quite right, but I guess that's where I'm trying to trust God's kindness to help me do better the next time and hope that even through my fumbling obedience, He will somehow use my minced up efforts to reach the heart for which those words were created. It can also be overwhelming in the face of a competitive and difficult publishing industry, but that's the amazing thing about God - when we dare to follow in obedience to His leading, He puts opportunities in motion for just the right time, including publication pathways.
    And thanks for your kind encouragement. So pleased you've enjoyed Blaine's adventures thus far.

  6. Great post, Adele. Sorry I missed this the other day. I think you've really hit on something that a lot of us are facing. A couple of months ago, I had a wrestling match with God when I felt he was directing me to put a devotions section on my new author website. Although my upcoming novel has Christians elements in it, I think it would also appeal to non-Christians and I didn't want my website to scream 'Christian author' in case it turned some people off. But I couldn't get away from the fact that God was prompting me to put those devotions up there. The hard part was wrestling with the idea in the first place. Once I actually gave in and started posting devotions, it was a lot easier. I know it's only a matter of time before someone out there doesn't like what I'm saying (maybe they already do), but we have to remember that God is the one who gives us the ability and inspiration to write, so we shouldn't be surprised when he prompts us to go out of our comfort zones and write what he actually wants us to write (and with a lot of grace as well as truth, as you mention).

    I really like your question: Dare we trust His version of our lives over our own?

    Let's keep encouraging each other to do just that. Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Thanks for sharing your recent "dare I?" journey, Nola. I've been one of those people inspired by your obedience as you've stepped out recently in this way, even when it's been uncomfortable for you. (Thanks! :) ) I think you're observation is right, in that the initial "first step" of obedience can be the hardest when moving in a new direction. BTW I can't take credit for that saying, but agree it's a beautifully phrased statement that well depicts our struggle with choosing God's leading over our own.