Friday, October 13, 2006

the myth of safety

Our safety is a myth. As I read the paper, scan the internet, etc., I'm struck by the many varied ways that tragedy appears at our doorstep. In spite of all that, we go through great lengths to build up around ourselves a shield - a hedge of protection. Who are we kidding? At best it gives us peace of mind but how sad that is to be fooled into thinking that something we can create can result in our personal protection.

Job lost his kids, his wealth was destroyed, and his body is covered with boils. Then his wife advises him to curse God. What does he do? He said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2.9-10)

We have to understand that in life we will encounter all manner of evil. No matter what we do, trials will come. We need to focus less on how to avoid these and more on how God will be glorified through them. Even more so, understanding that life is risk, we need to direct our steps to take even more risk for the sake of His glory.

John Piper explodes the myth of safety;

We are not God. We do not know about tommorow. Therefore risk is woven into the fabric of our finite lives ... We cannot avoid risk even if we want to. Ignorance and uncertainty about tomorrow is our native air. All of our plans for tomorrow’s activities can be shattered by a thousand unknowns whether we stay at home under the covers or ride the freeways. One of my aims is to explode the myth of safety and to somehow deliver you from the enchantment of security. Because it is a mirage. It doesn’t exist. Every direction you turn there are unknowns and things beyond your control. The tragic hypocrisy is that the enchantment of security lets us take risks every day for ourselves, but paralyzes us from taking risks for others on the Calvary road of love. We are deluded and think that it may jeopardize a security that in fact does not even exist.
In 2 Sam 10.12 Joab and Abishai pledge to help each other against terrible odds in battle. They say, "Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him." They made a decision for God not knowing what their fate would be. Without regard for their personal safety, they chose to risk all for Him. They knew that there was nothing they could do to protect their lives and that no matter what, their lives would be best if given completely to the Lord.

In Esther 4.16, Esther said to Mordecai in preparation to risk her life for God's people, "Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” She is going to do what is right in the sight of God knowing that to perish doing that would still be better than to live and not.

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego to King Nebuchadnezzar when threatened with death reply in Dan 3.16-18; "... we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” "But if not"!!! wow - they know that their life and their death, when "lived" right, will bring glory to God. This is the utmost. They have nothing to protect other than His glory.

And so I'm struck with the idea that my goal in life is not to reduce risk, but to increase it - yet not recklessly without purpose. I need to live and die for His glory and meet all the risk that He brings me with the intent of making my sacrifice enable others to know Him better.

Paul the Apostle, Acts 20.24, "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." - CS Lewis

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