There is something about travel—especially long-distance travel—that prods the heart to consider matters of safety and security. Our hearts tend to find comfort in familiarity, the very thing that most trips lack.
My upcoming trip to India weighs in heavy on the Unknown Scale. I’ve never been there. I’ve never been on a plane more than eight hours. I’ve never traveled to places requiring shots and pills. I’ve never spoken to others via interpreter.
There are plenty of unfamiliar things ahead of me. In that dark unknown, I wonder about the unsafe and the insecure I might face. And I wonder if what I’ve known of God in the light of the known and familiar will buoy me in the dark of the the unknown and unfamiliar. I rest in the truth that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever . . . that He is the same whether I walk in the bright morning light or the dark night of the soul.
Although I am not (yet?!) experiencing the sort of anxiety about this trip that makes your insides fight against itself, I cannot deny the unease that has been catching me off guard this week. It pushes me to practice resting in the One who has rescued me, bought me, and made all things new for me.
Two conversations have resonated within me this week, helping me rest.
The first was with dear friend and fellow book lover Vera. She was encouraging me with a story from her own mission adventure to Papua New Guinea some years ago. She said,”Safety is not a place; it’s a Person.” This reminded me of my favorite lessons from Corrie ten Boom’s biography, The Hiding Place. She says, “There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places.” She also said, “In the center of a hurricane there is absolute peace and quiet. There is no safer place than in the center of the will of God.” (Thanks, Vera!)
The second conversation was with my Lodge Ladies. We were lamenting how fear coaxes us into shrinking back from opportunities to tell of God’s goodness. Fear whispers the risk is too great—speaking up may result in embarrassment or shame. But living life according to fear isn’t really living. If I am to be poured out as a drink offering for the Lord, it will require everything. It will require my desire to save face and look good in others’ eyes. The wonderful part is, the price I pay in what I give up is chump change compared to the riches of living all out for God. I want to live a full life, unrestricted by my own insecurities. (Thanks, Lodge Ladies!)
Both of these conversations prick upon my heart’s desire for safety and security (physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually). I’m so very grateful that God promises me safety and security in Christ Jesus beyond what this life inflicts. I’ll close with a favorite passage (it’s lengthy, I know, but the richness is worth the read, I promise!), which proclaims the beautiful familiarity of the safety and security found in Jesus:
The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.