Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Are you safe?

This is a great post from my fellow coach and mentor Jerome Daley. He is an encourager and dear friend who does an amazing job of putting things in perspective. Take a look!

Are We Safe?

"When it rains, it pours!" Everyone knows the expression...which is typically translated to mean, "The crap has hit the fan, and I'm catching the brunt of it." Sometimes it just feels like we're hit by a run of bad luck. (Oops, Christians aren't supposed to say "luck.") You know what I mean.

Over the last week, both our cars had to be taken to the shop. During the same time, we called in a repairman to take a look at our hot water heater. The deck was stacked for it to "pour," right? But guess what? It didn't.

In fact, this unlikely scenario played out in such a way that I felt uncommonly blessed and cared for by God. I was convinced that the transmission had gone out on the old car. Again. And that it would cost me two grand to replace it. Instead, it was a bad wire that cost $100. At the same time, the new(ish) car had inexplicably stalled and wouldn't restart. The good news? It stalled safely in the mall parking lot. My neighbor just happened to be home and available to take me to pick up the other car at the shop so I could pick up Kellie and the kids. The roadside service (which I had let expire) was able to be renewed and used on the spot. And it was just a defective battery which was still under warranty. $0. Oh...and the hot water heater that I feared was kaput re-lit and was perfectly fine.

OK, so it doesn't always play out this way. I know. I get it. About the same time I was juggling all these small potatoes, I learned that cancer had returned for a relative who only has six months left to live. And the question I found myself mulling is this: How safe are we in this world really?

How Safe?

As Christ-followers, we know that God is sovereign in the world. We also know that, because sin is in the world, a lot of bad things happen. And I often watch folks try to reconcile this painful paradox in one of two ways:

  1. either they claim Psalm 91:10 that "no evil will befall you" and believe that if they do all the right stuff, they will be buffered from suffering...
  2. or, alternatively, they claim that "it's all good." Because God is good and God's in charge, everything that happens in the world is good.

If one of these mindsets is working for you, then by all means stick with it. For me, though, it's really important to acknowledge that first, everything is not good. Just because good may come through a bad event, we need to be able to be honest about something being bad in and of itself. Death is bad. Sickness is bad. Poverty is bad. Let's not pretend otherwise.

So what about all the scriptures that appear to promise safety? For me, it's important to distinguish between a principle and a promise. The Psalms (and many other places) are full of principles that help us understand the good character of God. These are not promises that we will only experience good things--just ask King David; but they do point us to what (Who) is utterly reliable.

So back to where we started--are we safe? I say yes...and no. We are not necessarily safe from cars that break and bodies that break. If circumstances are your definition of safe, then hang it up. Circumstances are fickle. But we are safe if our definition of safety is relationship. Specifically, relationship with a good and powerful God who regularly breaks into a broken world with unexpected and undeserved kindness while we wait for a place with no tears.

Heavy topic. Real life. Peace and purpose to you this day!