God is not safe!
It’s true! In relation to our salvation and the life to come, nothing could be more secure. Still in terms of our life here on Earth, I believe the answer is no. Choosing to truly follow Christ and make Him the ruler of your life is not a safe thing to choose, especially in this day and age. God leads His followers down difficult and sometimes daunting paths as they walk in His will. He calls us to be different from the world, often leading to frightening conversations & positions with friends, coworkers and even family.
A few Sundays ago our pastor said something that God used to hit me deep. Before we began to pray together for some missionaries that we as a church support in other countries where it is not safe to be a Christian , he said , let’s not pray that they be safe, but that God would make them strong. He may have said it differently , but that is what I heard. I have been in church all of my life & I am sure I have heard that before , but Sunday It felt like the first time. It’s no coincidence that I just got finished with the Bible study on the book of Job where we talked a lot about God not always being safe, but that he is good! My favorite example was when Lisa Harper shared about the line in the book, Chronicles of Narnia where Lucy asked if the Lion was safe & Mr. Beavers said “of course not , he is a lion , but he is good”.
God makes us brave & gives us the courage we need in & for every trial. He has that power! He is that mighty! I know He carries us & never leaves us, but I sometimes forget that He makes me strong. To be honest, I don’t want to have to be strong. I would much rather be safe.
My heart is heavy over having two podcast recordings in 3 months where two different moms share about one of their children passing into eternity. Then I have a friend who has to take her young child for chemo treatments every week. As a mom I feel their excruciating heartbreak as I try to imagine myself in their lives. Their circumstances have not been safe. Still in the same breath that they share their tragic stories they also share how God has given them sufferance. They are each passionate about how he is carrying them through.
God can make me strong enough for whatever comes against me. The reason is because he lives in me. So it’s not me being strong in those need to be vigorous moments. It’s him. It’s the greater is he in me verse that I have read all of my life. I can pray safety for my children. God can for sure & does keep them shielded, but there are going to be times in their lives where I will need to pray more for God to make them tenacious, not just safe. My heart may be shattered while praying it because of my love for them & wanting to keep any struggle from my children. Just like our Father God felt the same for his son Jesus when he was on the cross, he did not keep him safe, he made him strong to accomplish His perfect will, To bring salvation to the world.
I will admit I am one who for the majority of my life have prayed safety focused prayers, but God put deep in my heart that Sunday a desire to not always pray just safety for myself & loved ones, but for Him to make give us grit. After all, if we are strong in him, we are safe. We really need to get that! It will change our prayers, perspective going into what God has for us next. Psalm 61:3 for you are my safe refuge, a strong fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Knowing my identity in Christ , hiding God’s word in my heart, praying, being in tune & being led by the Holy Spirit who lives in me are my strength & refuge. It all goes together. God works all things out for the good of those who love him. Keep praying for safety, but keep praying for his strength as well because in him is a strong fortress AND safe refuge. It’s what it means to follow Christ. It’s taking up my cross not my heavy bag. Its denying myself & persevering for a purpose higher than myself. Following God is not always safe, but He is good & gives us his strength to stand & be strong through any & everything.