And What is Safe?

On Friday, I wrote a post about my sweet little girl, Haven. I was kind of on cloud nine introducing her to you.

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Once I hit “publish” on that post, I immediately thought of the quote from C. S. Lewis from Mr. Beaver,

Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.

Then Sunday morning my heart broke a little during church when I got an email alert informing me that a thirteen year old boy who lived in a camp about 25 miles from our center in Iraq had died when he picked up an unexploded device, likely left over from the era of Sadaam Hussein.

I cried for him, and for the tragic death he endured, while living in what was meant to be a haven, a refuge for him and his family who have already suffered much at the hands of a radical terrorist group.

I cried for his mom. And when I tried to fast-forward my imagination to Justus as a crazy little teenager running around outside with friends (that’s going to make me cry too!) my heart just ached and I wished so badly I could hug her.

I cried in anger that men could be so arrogant, cruel, and thoughtless to first fight each other with such devices, but then to leave them to years later kill innocent children.

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And I went back to pondering safety and the kingdom.

What do we do when the places that are meant to be the safest places turn into places of destruction, hurt, and loss? What promise can I make to anyone that they will experience safety if they do x . . . y . . . z? I simply can’t promise anything. And I surely can’t promise that running to God is going to bring safety into your life. Sometimes, that will actually heighten the danger.

And what do I work for? My family and I have given ourselves to pursuing peace and safety for the vulnerable, the oppressed. We work countless hours trying to give hope and empowerment to people who have been stripped of their dignity and purpose.

And then they die. They encounter unexploded devices, or they suffocate in a box truck as stowaways to Europe, or they get cancer, or they get old. The hope we advocate seems like a farce. It won’t actually make a difference. Will it?

And even God’s not safe.

Even God’s not safe. 

Why then? Why work? Why expose ourselves to hurt? Why visit the lady who can’t function in society on her own? Why sponsor an orphan in Africa? Why buy from organizations that give back?

Because we bring the kingdom come. The kingdom is not here yet, and you need only to wake up in the morning to know that. But we live as citizens of that kingdom, that kingdom that cannot be shaken {or broken, or embezzled, or uprooted!} Hebrews 12:28. 

Will that kingdom be safe? I don’t know. But it will be good. It will be centered on the King, and it will be the only place we want to be.

We are not in the kingdom now. This world is a far cry from what that kingdom will be, but we work to make our corner of the world as kingdom-like as possible. Not because we think we can attain it or earn points for it, but because we want to be shadows of the so much better things to come.

We work against the hurt and the brokenness and the evil because that’s what Jesus did. And we believe, we believe God, we believe His holiness, we believe His promises. We believe that hope exists because of Him and only Him.

In Matthew 25, Jesus told a parable of a master who gave talents to three servants. Two invested the talents but the third buried his, believing that there was no chance or hope of pleasing the master. The master was furious with the one who had buried his talents, because he hadn’t wisely invested and by failing to do so had disrespected the master.

Can we fix all the problems that plague humanity in this world? No. But, I believe that if we allow that fact to instill fear and hopelessness in us, if we bury our hope because it won’t ever be perfected, then we disrespect Jesus and He will be displeased.

Let’s work hard, friends, knowing that we will never achieve perfection, but knowing that we are working for a better kingdom.

Let’s re-define safe. Let’s see the heart of God as the safest place we can be, whether that asks of us our time, or our savings, or our life. Let’s choose to believe that even though God is not safe {according to our conventions}, He is our refuge, our haven. Let’s believe that working for that kingdom is the safest work we can do. 

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