“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”
What is safe?
I often wonder this. I think of our jungle-bound family and I wonder- is it safe? I certainly get asked that enough. Believe me when I say that I know there are hard times ahead for our family. But aren’t there for everyone?
I know the risks are real. Diseases. Wild animals. Lack of convenience. Missionaries are not immune from bad things happening. Children get sick. Some lose their lives.
Jim Elliot died at the end of a spear. Yet, his family returned, believing that even at the loss of father, husband, it was worth it. The Kingdom was worth it. Jesus was worth it. Perhaps they clung to his words, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.”
I think of the Man of Sorrows, who, for the JOY set before him, endured the cross. Jesus wasn’t safe. He didn’t lead a timid life. He was born to die. But he didn’t run from his destiny.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit to the fear within me that sees the calculable risk. Sometimes I want to keep my daughters wrapped up tight, safe in a bubble, fending off harm. But I know this is no way to live. I think they would resent us if, in 15 years, they learned of their parents who weren’t willing to give it all for Jesus; that weren’t willing to say “yes” because it was just too easy to say “no;” that clung to all the stuff they can’t take with them into eternity. How sad it would be for me to look them in the eyes and admit that I’d been too afraid to follow Jesus.
That brings me back around to the opening question: what is safe? Is safety found in a two-car-garage, white picket fence, 1 cat, 1 dog, SUV filled life (and trust me when I say I long for these things sometimes)? Or is it found in the center of his will? His good, pleasing, so-not-a-bummer will. His will might be picket fences, and that’s certainly okay, but it may also be spotty solar power in the middle of the jungle.
But the reality is that nowhere is safe. People, babies, die right here in my town, every day. But God is good.
We walk with a God who isn’t known for safety. He’s a Man of War, the roaring Lion of Judah.
“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