“Teaching the world to be careful is a constructive service worthy of God’s great gift of life to man.”
– U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harold H. Burton (1946)
I could really ignite a fire with this one word, couldn’t I? Because we live in a culture of blame and liability, and revenge. But the truth is that we, flesh and blood, human beings cannot guarantee the safety of ourselves or anyone else.
I may have already lost some of my readers, and I truly don’t want to be offensive. So, let me stay true to my goal and focus on pondering the one word, and then allowing this one word to lead me to fix my eyes on Jesus and find His character through this one-word lens.
Does God want us to be safe?
I think He most certainly does want His children and really all of His creation to exist in safety. He did, after all, give the first man and first woman one safety rule. And, unfortunately for all of us, they broke it.
The seemingly small disobedience of Adam and Eve opened wide the door to harm, guilt, shame, and death. Safety would no longer exist in the world outside the saving grace of God. Yet, I believe that God was already prepared for this act of treason and the ensuing battle ignited, even as the first couple was safely escorted out of Eden to prevent their further demise.
“We must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
– Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy
My mind jumps from scriptural story to story thinking of all the people God rescued, and I am reminded of the multi-faceted methods by which they were saved and brought to safety. I think of Abraham in Egypt and his nephew Lot narrowly escaping Sodom and Gomorrah under the protective guard of strong angels. There’s the story of Noah and his family. I remember Rahab and her family kept safe though the walls of Jericho tumbled around them. (May I recommend the entire book of Genesis?)
And then my mind wanders to Hebrews 11. This historical account of many of God’s faithful followers reminds us of something quite uncomfortable, especially for those of us who live in a safety-conscious western culture. Many followers of Jesus were persecuted for their faith, and not at all kept safe from physical harm or even death. And yet, we believe that their ultimate safety was insured for all of eternity by the saving blood of Christ. Because Christ first suffered horrific persecution, was killed, and successfully raised from the grave to life eternal, we too can obediently follow Him surrendering fear for our ultimate safety.
I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.Prayer of Jesus, John 17:15-17
We all want safety for our children and grandchildren, for parents and spouses, and for ourselves. We’re hard-wired to seek safety and preserve life. As a mother and now a grandmother there’s probably not a more oft-spoken prayer than, “Lord, please keep them safe.” Truth be told I probably pray for safety more than salvation, and it should be the other way around. For salvation in Christ alone is the insurance of our utmost safety.
Here, I will defer to Mr. Beaver to wrap this up with his engaging description of The Lion, Aslan.
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
I pray I’ve stirred up some ideas about safety on which to ponder. I pray I’ve not offended my readers. And if I have I ask your forgiveness. I hope you will ask Jesus what He thinks about safety, and I pray you will search the scriptures for yourself. May this be the prompting for a beautiful and probably not totally safe adventure in Jesus’ name.
Eyes on Jesus and Shine,