Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘safety’

A Safe Distance?

Keeping our distance is a good way to stay safe from things that would threaten our safety–
–another vehicle on the road
–a live wire
–fire
–a wild animal

We tell our children, “Don’t get too close; you might get hurt.”

Keep Distance

On the other hand, how could we as humans relate to one another without getting close enough to communicate and express affection?  When we get close to someone, it’s true that we are making ourselves vulnerable to hurt, but we are also opening ourselves to love.  I’m reminded of back in the 60’s and 70’s when cars were made with bench seats in the front.   Often one would see what we called a “two-headed driver”—a couple sitting as close to each other as possible while the guy drove! 

What about getting close to God?  If you’ve read or seen the tales of Narnia, you will recall that most beloved character Aslan, the great lion that symbolizes Jesus Christ.  When the four children first hear the Beavers talking about Aslan, they ask, “Is he quite safe?”  The answer was, “’Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”  And all through the seven books, the children take great delight in being as near as possible to Aslan.  Real love of God will overcome our fears and give us the greatest joy and security.

These are some of the my thoughts as I read this short article by Dr. Harold J. Sala in his book Today Counts:

I’ve been thinking about our lives in relationship to God. Often we don’t want to be too far away from Him, but neither do we want to get so close that He can easily get to us. A comfort zone is okay. After all, it’s good to be on the side of God but just don’t get too carried away with this business of religion.

Why are we afraid of getting too close to God, or letting Him get too close to us? There are three clusters of fear that keep us on the spiritual beltway – neither too close nor too far away.

Fear 1: You can never really please God, so why try? A lot of folks – especially those who have had parents whose expectations were difficult to meet – think they can never be good enough or spiritual enough for God to receive them and fully love them.

Fear 2: You will lose control of your life if you allow God to get close to you. The issue of “who is in charge” keeps lots of people on spiritual beltway. Yes, they want to be close enough to get God’s attention when things get desperate but not so close that they can’t make a spiritual detour.

Fear 3: You will be asked to do something you don’t like and to stop doing something you like but God dislikes. But most of our fears are irrational and without foundation. God is a loving Father who wants the best for us.

When you understand who God is and how compelling is His desire to have fellowship with you, you quickly abandon the beltway of your comfort and strive to move towards the presence of the Almighty.

Every Step of the Way

I didn’t have a choice.  It was straight up—a loooong way up!  A ladder of sorts was built into the vertical side of this wadi and our group was exiting that way.  With others climbing up before me and right behind, I couldn’t look up or down.   I just had to focus on one step at a time.  If anyone had told me that morning what I’d have to do that day, I might have tried to beg off.  But as it is, I learned a valuable lesson that day in Israel about God’s provision of strength and courage every step of the way.

Wadi Zin 1

Each morning as consciousness dawns on me, I greet the Lord with thanks for sleep and for the newness of another day.  Then I mentally review my plans for the day while acknowledging that He may have some surprises in store to be meted out along with the grace to handle them. 

I’m reminded of a simple song my mother taught me as a child:

Step by step I’ll follow Jesus
Hour by hour I’m in his care
Day by day He walks beside me
Through the years I know He’s there.
He can still the mighty tempest
He can calm the troubled sea
He the waters trod, He’s the Son of God
He’s the One who always walks with me!
                                              (author unknown)

Freedom vs. “Security”

I’ve just finished reading Madeleine L’Engle’s book, “The Young Unicorns”  (copyright1968)—my first venture into her writings but definitely not the last.

Toward the end of this book, a man who is trying to take over the city by force says, “People don’t want freedom.  Don’t you realize that?  Can you not tell?  People want serenity, safety. Freedom is too dangerous.  You don’t want freedom, Robert….My trusty young followers have found something better than freedom, have you not, my lads?

“Young people today in applying for jobs are not looking for challenge….What the young man or woman applying for a job today is looking for is fringe benefits, a secure retirement policy… adequate, nay more than adequate hospital and medical insurance…

“Man is not capable of freedom.  If we are given freedom we will destroy ourselves…The only way we can be freed from the slavery of freedom is by relinquishing freedom…in a reasonable and pleasurable way.”

Does this sound familiar?

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus!

A Ship in a Harbor?

“A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are made for.”  So said a poster we used to have on our wall.  I have always struggled with the desire to be “safe.” 

Think of a child learning to walk.  Between the safety of the chair he’s hanging onto and the outstretched arms of Daddy across the room, there’s a zone of vulnerability.  Will he take the chance?

Between the security of where I am right now and the goals God has for me is a lot of uncharted water–and I can’t swim!

What has God made me for?  I read today about people who began and accomplished amazing things in their 90’s.  And I’m not even 60.  What am I afraid of?  Will I take the chance?  I want to say yes.

Is He Safe?

Today my neighbor returned the first Narnia book which she had borrowed, “The Magician’s Nephew” by C. S. Lewis.  Now they’re reading “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”  And I’m delighted.  I pray that they will be not only fascinated by the thrill of this wonderful story but also captivated by the truth of what it represents.

Aslan, the beloved and awesome Lion!  On Sunday our pastor recalled the oft-quoted exchange between the children and the Narnian beavers: 

Susan:  “Is he—quite safe?” 

Mrs. Beaver:  “Safe?…Who said anything about safe?  ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”

This is the God I belong to—not the tame and tolerant god so many people fantasize about—but the “I AM” who demonstrated His character to his people in the Old Testament.  To those who are His, He’s as gentle as a lioness with her cubs.  But to those who reject Him, like a lion with its prey! 

I’m glad my God is powerful to accomplish His purposes and defend His honor and those who belong to Him.

I am safe. 

I am loved. 

I am content.

Where is our Confidence?

A look around us at the state of the world and where it’s going can produce panic.  That’s how the Israelites felt as the Assyrian empire threatened to obliterate them.  (Read in Isaiah, particularly in 28:14-16, 30:1-7, and elsewhere.)

When they weren’t in denial, they devised strategies. Their confidence was in bribing their enemies, making deals with potential allies (e.g. Egypt), and trying to build up their defenses (e.g. horses).  God compares this kind of security to a “foundation made of lies” which will be swept away in the flood, or “a bed too short to lie on” with “blankets too narrow to cover” the sleeper! (28:17-20).

Instead, their confidence should have been in the “foundation stone…a firm, tested and precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.” (28:16)  Safety and security in their own land would be assured if only they would obey God.  But would they?

As 2012 begins, I want to keep in mind some of these words from Isaiah 26:

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you…

You are a God of justice…

Our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.

All night long I search for you…Only when you come to judge the earth will people turn from wickedness and do what is right.

We have this assurance:  those who belong to God will live; their bodies will rise again…and sing for joy!

Tag Cloud