I’m not much into the physical safety thing. My roommate is all about it. She’s always like: Hey, keep that knife out of that kids hand!
I’m also not much of a financial security gal. My other roommate is always like: Hey, how about you don’t spend $1200 on a speeding ticket because you’re too lazy to call the court?
I really shine when it comes to emotional safety, though. My deep fear of rejection has enabled me to develop some varied and flexible, (even if fairly illogical), ‘security’ plans.
Here’s my theory:
our obsession with safety is getting in the way of displaying God’s glory to this world.
In Ezra 8, Ezra and his people are on the way back to Jerusalem and they stop to fast and beg God to keep them and their kids safe. They are in a dangerous position because Ezra didn’t ask the King for protection for their travels.
Ezra had told the King: ‘God protects His people’, so he thought that asking the King for protection would imply God wasn’t faithful.
Man, I want people to look at my life and see the faithfulness of God because I think He’s really crazy faithful. But if I want people to see that, it might mean killing this safety obsession.
Right now that safety thing produces these three patterns in my life:
Making decisions through a grid of self
Think about all the decisions you make every day:
- What are you going to do today?
- Are you going to go on that date? Be in that relationship?
- Will you have another kid? Will you adopt? How many kids?
- Will you move house? Jobs? Cities? Countries?
How much do you even consider God when answering these questions? How many decisions do you make prayerfully with consideration of His will above everything else?
Ezra and his people didn’t end up in a spot where God’s glory is seen by making decisions based on personal safety or even their kids safety.
As long as we plan our lives through a grid of self, we are ‘safe’ from waking up and finding ourselves risking much for the glory of God.
Planning more than praying
Ever wonder why we don’t fast and pray like the guys in the Bible? We never feel needy like them. We have developed our own plans or ‘armies’ to keep us safe.
Unfortunately that means that when good things happen to us everyone watching gives credit to those plans and armies – not God.
Thinking our safety – not His glory – is the goal.
When I read that passage in Ezra I wonder: what if God had not fulfilled their request and kept them safe?
I think it would still have been a success to Ezra, because he wasn’t banking on safety; he was banking on God displaying His name.
And that was going to happen. Whether through life or death, God was going to get glory.
To change this world we are going to have to bank publicly and visibly on God’s promises, trusting that the dangers they protect us from are the only real dangers out there.
If your goal today is physical or financial or emotional security, then God’s promises are useless to you. God’s promises do not guarantee safety in this life.
Here’s a crazy final thought: Ezra could have followed God’s will (to rebuild the temple) and still been safe by asking for protection, but he refused to do that because he wanted everyone watching to see God’s faithfulness and power.
He was willing to die to make much of God.
That’s crazy talk.
It’s the kind of crazy talk I want in my vocabulary.