..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)



Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Are You Safe? True Safety in a World of Terrorism

Are You Safe? True Safety in a World Full of Terrorism

On this fourth of July I spent awhile
thinking about safety. I thought about
it watching the 4th of July parade,
watching Mark Ecker walk by on his new
prosthetic legs, the original ones having
been blown off in Iraq. His face was
beaming as he walked by to the cheers
and standing ovation of the crowd. God bless
him. I trust he knows about safety.

Our world seems to be anything but safe.
It's not that times have gotten more
dangerous, although that might be argued.
Things have been pretty unsafe since Adam
and Eve were thrown out of the garden.
Actually, danger was lurking right in
their pristine paradise. Go figure.

So what really is safety? To tell you
the truth, I've never felt really safe
in the world. Its not that I've faced
such a tough time, or didn't have a
wonderfully protective childhood
home. I did. My home on the safety
scale had nearly a perfect score. I
still have never felt really safe.
But lately that has been changing.

I know not feeling safe has affected
how I've lived my life although I'd
say that I've happily and nonchalantly
done things that many people would not
feel safe doing and never had a real
second thought until way after the
fact. I still think this lack of
feeling safe has caused me to often
err on the side of prudence and
caution. Which isn't a bad thing,
now is it? Still, I know there is a
higher place for me at this point.

So as I reach toward 50 years old,
I'm rethinking the safety thing.
What does it mean to be safe? What
does it mean to be safe as a Christian?
It really is something worth looking at.
One of the basic tenets of our faith is
that God loves us, and is keeping us
safe. We talk about our souls being
"saved" and with that comes the idea
of safety.

So what can we expect as far as safety
features in our lives as believers? Well,
first of all, I don't think that we
can say that we can always expect physical
safety. Do I think we should pray for God
to watch over our steps, our houses, our
children, our comings and going?
Absolutely! Do I think we should pray
for "traveling mercies"? Without a
doubt! But God does not make a
blanket statement to me or to
you that He will preserve our physical
earthly life from all and every harm.

Many of God's finest have died as martyrs.
Could God have preserved them? Of
course! But for purposes coming out of
His goodness He allowed them the
privilege of dying for His Name. I
think about these people. I read the
accounts of some of their deaths, say
Stephen as he was stoned, or Jim Elliot's
group as they were martyred, etc. There
is some incredible sense of safety that
shines through the stories of so many
of the deaths of the martyrs. Were
they physically safe? No. It was their
souls that were safe.

I am thinking that one of the most
valuable things we can have as
believers in the days to come is the
sense that we are safe in God. To
know that we are firmly held BY CHRIST
and that NOTHING can snatch us out of
His hand just makes my heart soar. I
love it when Paul writes, "neither
death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor powers, nor things
present, nor things to come, Nor height,
nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us from the
love of God, which is in Christ Jesus
our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39).
How awesome is that?

Paul writes this in the midst of great
danger, from the midst of a life of
danger, opposition, persecution,
rejection, trial, punishment and
banishment. He is PERSUADED that
nothing can separate him from
Christ's love. Christ holds
him, he does not need to hold himself.
Now that is safety.

But how do we get there? And what does
the safety mean? First of all, we
need to come to grips with the fact
that safety does not entail the
promise of no physical harm or
no emotional upheaval. Safety is
about our eternal standing and how
things ultimately turn out for those
who have trusted in Christ. The thing
is, once we accept Christ, we have
already entered into the foretaste of
eternal life. We have entered into
an important measure of that safety-
-the safety of our spirit.

Safety is really about trust. Can
I come to the place that I trust God no
matter what happens? Then I will know the
freedom of what safety really is.

Jesus knew He was safe. On the stormy sea
of Galilee he is asleep in the bottom
of a boat during a tumultuous storm. Jesus
is free to do the Father's will. He is
free to come and go. He is free to LIVE OR
DIE, free to walk alone, free to love,
free to endure rejection, free to forgive,
for He knows He is safe. Safety is about
my relationship with My Father in Heaven
and to the degree that I know I am safe
is the degree that my trust in Him has
matured.

Follow me through this scenario. I get
out of bed in the morning. I have a faint
queasy feeling in my stomach. Things
have not been going well on a number of
fronts. I turn the news on. Terrorism
looms in the most civilized of countries,
apparently coming soon to a neighborhood
near me. Unease begins to build. I carry
with me a sense of less than feeling safe.
I ease out into traffic. A car narrowly
misses me as it passes me at a high speed
to get to work on time. You know the
scenarios. They continue as part of
"normal life" throughout the day.

But do I know that I am safe? Do I know
that ages and ages hence I shall be
looking back through the files of my
life from some heavenly armchair
and saying, "if only she knew she was
safe there, what a difference it would
have made," "oh, if only he knew that
all was well, how rich his life would
have been, even in the midst of adversity."

Recently, I keep coming across Julian(a)
of Norwich's most inspiring of thoughts,
"Sin is behovely, but all will be well,
all will be well, all manner of things
will be well
." Sin is behovely,
useful to us in the sense that its
unnatural and unsafe presence
presses us toward the safe open door
of our Heavenly Father. When we see
what sin can do, we flee into the safe
arms of God, exactly where He wants us
to be. Sin is a threat, but ALL WILL BE
WELL as we trust in God.

God is not asleep in the boat. He
oversees everything and is in
control no matter what the circumstances
are. It only takes a minute for Him to
rouse Himself and calm the sea. Let Him
decide when that moment will be. Do you
not trust His judgment? For the only
issue in the world is this: DO I
TRUST HIM?

We as believers must put all of
our eggs into ONE basket, and
the basket is this: trusting God!
Not trusting Him blindly, and yet
again there may be moments when
all we can choose is blind trust...
Not trusting Him without knowing the
full extent of His good nature,
and yet again there may be moments
when we are trusting the little we
know of who God is... Not trusting
Him out of fear, and yet again
there may be times when we are
terrified and trust in a state
of great agitation. It is ok, we
must start somewhere. Start with
the trust that you do have, however
small, and ask God to multiply it.

The thing is, as I begin to let go
and trust Him above all things and
every other creature, a great sense
of relief floods my soul. A feeling
of safety and well-being surrounds.
Do things go smoothly? Absolutely not!
Is life without loss, damage, or
death? No! Does my mind tell me that
I am not safe and to start immediate
preparations for purchasing armor,
swords, mafia protection and umbrella
coverage of all manner of things in
my insurance policy? Yes.

Can I choose to let this all go,
and come and sit with My Father, where
He whispers one beautiful sweet
something into my ear, "You are safe."
Why do I feel vulnerable believing it?
Why do I doubt His nature in saying
it? For safety is not about danger,
or the lack of it: it is about
knowledge of God and what He is
capable of.

No wonder Jesus had the courage to
go on: He knew His Father. He trusted
His Father. Was it hard for Jesus?
Yes,hard at times to the point
of sweating blood, but He knew
safety, and He let Safety carry him
home. I'm thinking the hard part
of life is not the calamity, but
the lack of trusting. Difficulties
can be endured, lack of trust brings
with it something far worse.

This has been a week of terror,
some within, some without.
And yet, I feel strangely safe.
I am going now, to rest in the
arms of my Father. And so I will
say with the psalmist,

"He will both lay me down in
peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD,
only makest me dwell in safety"
(Psalm 4: 7,8).

God's safety is so much more then
freedom from physical harm. It is
eternally resting in the goodness
of God, where no-one and nothing
that can take you away from Him.

God has promised this safety to
those who love and trust Him.

Do you believe Him?

If you heart is willing, but your
hands are still shaking, go to Him
and sit for awhile. Ask Him if you are
safe. What a wonderful answer you shall hear.






2 comments:

Desert Pilgrim said...

Loved this post. Two of my favorite things, the passage about the Lord asleep in the boat and Julian of Norwich.
~Desert Pilgrim
"Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee because he truseth in Thee."
Isaiah 26:3.

Singing Owl said...

Wonderful post.