This Not-So-Safe Place

I can hear the refrigerator running as I type. That means one thing: there is blessed silence in the house! It is so hard to get myself to bed when I can enjoy quiet for hours on end.

Darryl is back in the game, well sort-of. He’s back but not really back. He has been sleeping for nearly three days straight. Sentences are left unfinished and I find myself alone in conversation as he drifts off in the middle of nearly everything I say. That’s okay. It’s been a good long time since I’ve been able to soak up quietness like this.

In all the quiet I’ve been thinking much about safety. Or at least what we perceive as safety. On a quick jaunt to the grocery store I turned on Dave Ramsey. A married girl, 25 years old, was calling in to ask exactly what they should do with their money next. They had paid off their student loans and cars, had a six-month emergency fund, and were starting to save for when they would have their child in three years. (Seriously, how do people plan this stuff!?).

I felt small. My portfolio isn’t quite as planned, neat, or…shall we say, full? Five years on the mission field. Back with high needs. Jobless. Not established. Four kids (oh wait, that makes me established, right?). No idea what will happen in three years.

Not a lot of security in that…at least according to Dave Ramsey. I’m not knocking Dave Ramsey or financial planning. It’s good stewardship. But so much of me (and probably you too) wants to leverage with God and bargain for security, even financial security. We want planned lives. No detours. Please.

Bless me and give me things and please, please don’t make me hurt. I want my health, my safety. However safety is stripped away at a moment’s notice from believers and non-believers alike (the images from Japan still chill me). Sometimes God peels back these layers of safety. We look around and see all the good and legitimate things we built around us (financial plans, family plans, nice houses, good hospitals) and somehow all those safe things can’t protect us. Not from disease, earthquakes, disability, death. It shakes us. It shakes me.

If Christ is our hope we can be thankful for the pain. We can be thankful for having our foundations shaken. We can be thankful to see all the artificial safeties collapse like cardboard around us. It is then that the Solid Rock (Christ!) is seen, felt, and realized. It’s then that we see all other ground for what it is, sinking sand.

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