Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Safe

   Now there’s a strong and beautiful word…”safe.” Parents receive their son or daughter back home after military duty…alive and well…safe! Our spouse is involved in a car accident…we are frantic until we hear the one word of them we most desperately long to hear…”Safe!” The big city police officer returns home to his family after his shift…safe. We wish to be safe. We want our loved ones kept safe. The problem is there are so many dangers. There is danger from without and within. Tragically, there are times when places and people which were supposed to be safe actually were not. Our homes are supposed to be safe places for children. But our record as a nation on domestic violence and abuse of all kinds tells a different and a bitter story. Churches are supposed to be safe, but even there people are often victimized. Our life…our entire frame of reference is drastically altered when we experience danger, harm, and betrayal in places and from people we thought were safe.

   We sing about being “safe in the arms of Jesus.” And that’s a beautiful hymn! But what’s our definition of “safe?” Is this after all a shallow promise, offering much but delivering precious little? Jesus invites all to come to Him and find rest? Does He mean it? In a world like ours? What is He actually promising? Was Stephen “safe in the arms of Jesus” when he was being stoned to death (Acts 7)? Was James “safe” in some real way at the time he was beheaded (Acts 12)? Is it possible for Christians to be safe on any level here in the real world, where their beloved can hurt them or simply desert them? Can we be safe here where we still struggle with sin daily? Is safety possible when there are so many unanswered questions…so many unrelieved burdens…so many discrepancies…so much injustice? Is the idea of “safe” really a self-deception?

   There are those who tell us, in the name of religion, that faith is the key to “success” in the here and now as well as in the there and then…that if we look at things properly, with the right attitude, that anything we can think is possible for us to accomplish…that if we are not happy, healthy and wealthy, we are guilty of lack of faith.

   So…what do you think about “safe?” Are you safe? Why? How? Encourage us with your insights from God’s Book? Please check in and comment if you can find the time.

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6 thoughts on “Safe

  1. Oh my, Doug. I have spent the better part of my life looking for a safe place. I did not feel safe as a child and I am not sure of all the reasons for that. We moved out in the country, (closer to my grandad) I felt safe. Then he died. And I started looking for the safe feeling in other places…other people. I started dating a guy that looked like he could protect me. I married him and found out that I wasn’t high enough on his list of priorities for him to care enough to keep me safe.

    My safe place now is a little group we call the OPEN. It is my haven…my refuge. God is sheltering me with His hand. I finally believe that and feel that because of the way I have seen His love in the people at the OPEN. I feel stronger and as if I am finally standing on solid ground. I found my way back to God and to safety.

    Does that mean that I don’t have fears? that I don’t worry about money? or about my children? Do I never have doubts or struggles with sin? NO! I still have all those things in my life…but the Maker of the Universe is my Father! He made me…He knows what I need. He will work in my life to do what is best for me. I will be able to get through whatever “storm” I go thru because I have my faith in Him to stand on. And I have the place here where His people will reassure me of that safety.

    Peter learned that the safest place in a storm….is with Jesus. Even though everything in his being had to be screaming “DON’T GET OUT OF THE BOAT!” Peter walked to Jesus across the water…nearly drowned…but Jesus reached out and saved him. With Jesus he was safe. That’s where I want to be…anywhere with Jesus.

    SO…IF I READ YOU RIGHT…SAFE DOESN’T MEAN NO DANGER OR TROUBLE. SAFE DOESN’T MEAN “SUCCESSFUL.” SAFE DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE IT ALL WORKED OUT. SAFE DOESN’T MEAN NO QUESTIONS OR WORRIES. SAFE DOESN’T MEAN INVULNERABLE. IN POINT OF FACT THE SAFEST PEOPLE WHO’VE LIVED UPON EARTH HAD LOTS OF QUESTIONS, FACED LOTS OF DANGERS, KNEW ABOUT LONELINESS AND TEMPTATION AND SIN. THEY FAILED, A LOT. MANY OF THEM DIED YOUNG. AND SO MANY OF THEM DIED DIFFICULT DEATHS (TO PUT IT MILDLY). THEY DIDN’T OFTEN LOOK LIKE WINNERS, BUT THEY WERE JUST THE SAME. THE ONLY PLACE IN ALL THE WORLD THAT’S SAFE, IS IN THE ARMS OF JESUS. AND, AREN’T YOU PLEASED ABOUT THIS, SHERRY, BEING IN HIS ARMS MAKES ANYPLACE IN ALL THE WORLD SAFE, IN SPITE OF WHATEVER DANGERS OR DIFFICULTIES OR DELIGHTS WE MAY EXPERIENCE THERE, BECAUSE THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF US…THE REAL US…IS UNTOUCHABLE BY ANY ENEMY BECAUSE OF JESUS. I AM GLAD OF HEART TO KNOW…THAT WHEN ALL THE OTHER PROPS GET KICKED AWAY (NO MATTER HOW PRECIOUS THEY ARE TO ME) I FIND THAT HIS LOVE AND PROTECTION IS ALL I NEED. CELEBRATE SAFETY!

  2. Depending on the day, “safe” holds different meanings and emotions for me. As I looked at different definitions of the word I saw things like: secure, without risk, free from harm or danger. This is not the world I live in. Daily there are things that can jeopardize my safety … and shake me inside and out. So where can I feel secure and free from harm? In the arms of Jesus. It is really the only place for me to be eternally safe.

    My grandpa was terrified of tornados. Every house he lived in had a cellar that he could get to from inside the house. It was his safe room. Looking back I see that the only time that room was going to be needed was if trouble was coming. But knowing that the room was there gave my grandpa’s heart a security. He knew that when danger came … he could get to safety.

    I think that’s the best way for me to describe “safe”. Safe doesn’t mean that storms aren’t going to come and that bad guys aren’t going to make my heart race … it means that I can be secure knowing that ultimately I have a secure place … with Jesus.

    When Jesus was a Bible character to me and a perfect man that couldn’t understand me … He wasn’t a safe place. He was a constant reminder of my imperfection and misunderstanding. He had no heart. After actually reading the Bible and not just hearing what I wanted to hear from others … I found the real Jesus. The Jesus that lived here … suffered here … for the very purpose of helping me. He wanted me to know that He really could understand. He wanted me to know that I did not have to fear anything … because He was my safe place. When my heart races … He will hold me. When storms come … He will shelter me.

    It’s become a frame of mind I guess, or an attitude. Am I really safe from harm? Nope. Is Jesus physically holding me right now fighting off the evil that is trying to divide my friendships? Nope. Will Jesus touch my heart with a magic wand and heal all the hurts that live there? Nope. But my mind knows, my heart knows … with confidence … that no matter what happens to me here I have a secure place. I have a place in my heart’s home that I can run to and be sheltered. Maybe not right this moment … but this is just that … a moment. I have eternal safety to look forward to when this moment is passed.

    PAIGE, I WOULDN’T KNOW HOW TO ADD TO WHAT YOU SAID. YOUR LAST PARAGRAPH IS PARTICULARLY POWERFUL AND RIGHT ON. WHAT YOU WROTE HONORS YOUR SAVIOR. AND HOW YOU ARE LIVING DOES THAT TOO. YOUR CONFIDENCE IN HIM IS CONTAGIOUS. YOU HELP US KNOW THAT WHATEVER ELSE IS GOING ON, THERE IS A “SECRET” PLACE…A HIDEAWAY…WHERE YOU ARE ALWAYS SAFE. AND THAT “SECRET” PLACE IS ACTUALLY OPEN TO ALL WHO WILL TRUST HIM. IT’S A SECRET GOD WILLINGLY LETS US IN ON. WE LIVE IN THIS WORLD…WHICH IS OFTEN REFERRED TO AS THE “REAL” WORLD, FULL OF HARSH REALITIES. BUT WE ALSO LIVE IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN JESUS CHRIST. AND THAT WORLD IS MORE REAL TO US THAN THIS MATERIAL ONE. OUR EXISTENCE IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN JESUS, ANIMATES, EMBOLDENS, AND EMPOWERS OUR LIFE IN THIS WORLD. SO, THOUGH WE SUFFER OR HAVE EASE, WHETHER WE WEEP OR SMILE, WHETHER WE FACE UGLY AND HARD QUESTIONS OR SEEM TO HAVE THE ANSWERS WE WANTED, WHETHER WE ARE DEVOID OF HUMAN COMPANIONS OR HAVE PLENTY OF FRIENDS NEARBY, WHATEVER THE WHETHERS…WE AREN’T QUITTING UNTIL WE SEE THE ARRIVAL OF THAT NEW DAWNING WHEN SAFETY TAKES ON WONDERFUL NEW ASPECTS OF DEFINITION…WHEN IT MEANS ALL THE GOOD STUFF WE HAVE ALWAYS SEEN IN THE WORD AND NO LONGER CONTAINS HARM OF ANY KIND AT ALL…NOT EVEN A BIT. WHEN “THIS MOMENT IS PASSED” SAFETY LASTS. ONE OF THESE DAYS…
    ISN’T OUR FATHER GOD WONDERFUL?

  3. I do not feel threatened too badly physically in this world. Sometimes I feel stressed certain times and I feel shaken up some. I have friends who have a hard time with things (emotions and all). Me too sometimes. Sometimes when I am not myself with feeling settled I think wrongly – like does anybody care. Part of that is being human I know, some is insecure with things. Some is just the way things are changing and loved ones are so busy with keeping up with things in their world.

    But I do think deep down and things I have learned of God that he does keep me safe in a lot of ways. I have experienced things that I cannot explain but God took care of me. He takes care and keeps me safe I think with angels he places with us. I do believe in angels. Angels can be anybody, anyone that takes notice of us and comes at times when we need them the most, that is God working to love us and show he cares.

    I do think of the heavenly angels also but I think their are human beings who are sent by God to help us and keep us safe. I think of them as Angels.

    From Gail

    I DON’T KNOW ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS ACTUALLY BEING ANGELS…BUT…I BELIEVE ANGELS HAVE SHOWN UP ON OUR EARTH IN HUMAN FORM. AND I BELIEVE THAT SOME HUMANS DEFINITELY DO ANGELIC THINGS, LIKE UNSELFISHLY CARE FOR THEIR INVALID MOTHERS DAY IN AND DAY OUT. BUT EVEN BETTER, THERE ARE HUMANS WHO LIVE UPON THIS PLANET IN LIKENESS TO THEIR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST THE LORD. AND WHEN OTHER HUMANS COME IN CONTACT WITH THEM, THEY FEEL THE GOOD DONE FOR THEM AND THEY DETECT THE FAMILIAR AROMA OF THE NAZARENE WHO ONCE WENT ABOUT THE WORLD DOING GOOD FOR ANYONE HE COULD. AND THEY ARE LIFTED BY SUCH EXPERIENCES. JESUS LIVES STILL…HE LIVES IN YOU, MY SISTER…AND SHINES THROUGH YOUR HEART OF CONCERNS FOR OTHERS. WHEN I THINK OF ALL YOU HAVE DONE FOR OTHERS, FOR YOUR FAMILY, FOR ME, FOR MOM, THROUGH ALL THE YEARS…I AM DRIVEN TO MY KNEES TO THANK GOD FOR YOU. PEACE AND LOVE TO YOU.

  4. I think safe, is 2 Corinthians Chapters 11 and 12.

    Romans 3:23 says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.
    Ephesians Chapter 2 says that we were DEAD in our transgressions and sins.

    2 Corinthians 12 says that is grace is sufficient for us. I am not a Bible scholar and I don’t hold deep truths, but this is what I see. Contextual it’s about Paul and his thorn in his side. ( I think, correct me if I am wrong.) But to me it means this. I deserve death, there are a lot of things in my life that I sometimes view as unfair or robbery or plain disgust. But God turns around and says. It’s OK you have grace.

    I feel pretty “safe” knowing that no matter what happens to me on this earth, I have grace. Granted I don’t have kids or a family of my own to speak of, but I would like to think, if I had children and responsibilities that I would think the same way. I pray that I do.

    I think safe is knowing we are a redeemed people.

    DARIN, THANKS FOR COMMENTING HERE. IF YOU HADN’T SAID OTHERWISE, I MIGHT HAVE MISTAKEN YOU FOR A BIBLE SCHOLAR WHO HOLDS DEEP TRUTHS (SMILE). MAYBE IT’S JUST AS WELL BEING A BIBLE STUDENT WHO HOLDS TRUTHS DEEPLY (WHICH I AM VERY SURE YOU ARE). THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO BE TOO. I LOVE YOUR DEFINITION OF SAFE…”KNOWING WE ARE A REDEEMED PEOPLE.” AND SHOULD GOD ONE DAY GIVE YOU A FAMILY OF YOUR OWN, I BELIEVE YOU COULD GIVE THEM NO GREATER GIFT THAN THE KNOWLEDGE, THE EXPERIENCE, OF THE SPIRITUAL SAFETY WE HAVE IN OUR LORD CHRIST. IT IS FROM THE BASE OF THAT SECURITY FOR OUR SOULS (OUR MOST IMPORTANT SELVES) THAT WE ARE ABLE TO LAUNCH OUT INTO DAILY LIFE ACCEPTING ANY RISKS THAT COME OUR WAY AS WE SERVE HIM, KNOWING…THAT NOTHING…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL…THAT WE COMMITTED TO HIS TRUST CAN BE LOST…THAT HE WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US IN THIS WORLD, EVEN THROUGH OUR DEATH EXPERIENCE…AND THAT THEN WE WILL ALWAYS BE WITH HIM. GOD BLESS YOU, BROTHER.

  5. Rex Boyles on said:

    Safe?
    When I was a boy, I always felt safe when my father was near. I still remember him – standing out on the front porch of our old farmhouse – watching the storm clouds. Tornadoes could have been reported … even spotted … but I do not ever remember being afraid of the storm, because Daddy was “keeping an eye on things”.

    When I became the father, I can make no claim that I was able to give my own children that same sense of security … but I always felt safe – if I had them with me. As long as they were with me … I had this sense that “we” would be safe – either here or there.

    Now that I am an old man … my idea of safety is something less dramatic. Safety for me now … is being in a place with people, who do not question my motives – or become jealous of my love for others. One of my greatest heartaches in life has been (still is) … when someone I love … someone to whom I have proven my love … accuses me of not loving them – attacks me for loving others – and mistreats those others in an effort to send me a message. When that happens – I lose my safe place.

    One day … we will all be safe. Come, Lord Jesus.

    WHAT I WANT FOR YOU, MY FRIEND…WHAT I PRAY FOR YOU…IS FOR GOD’S PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING TO GUARD YOUR HEART…YOUR MIND…YOUR EMOTIONS…YOUR WILL…YOUR ENERGY…YOUR PERSONALITY…YOUR PLANS…YOUR PREACHING…YOUR TEACHING…YOUR RELATIONSHIPS…YOUR DESIRES FOR GOOD…THROUGH JESUS CHRIST WHO IS NOT ONLY YOUR SAVIOR, BUT YOUR SAFETY…BOTH NOW AND FOREVERMORE. MAY YOU NEVER…EVER…AGAIN…LOSE YOUR SAFE PLACE. HOW I LOVE YOU.

  6. Email Girl on said:

    Since the day you posted this entry about being “safe” I’ve been thinking. What I found is that even though the word “safe” sounds all warm and fuzzy, and it should, but I’m not comfortable thinking about it because I’m not sure I really understand what it is to be safe. I known I’ve had times when I felt safe but I think feeling safe and actually being safe are two different things.

    Many things have made me feel safe. When I was a kid my dads arm around me felt safe. And playing all over the neighborhood with my friends felt safe…or was that invincible? My grandparents house felt safe…or was that just happy? See?….I get the safe feeling mixed up with other emotions. They mesh together I guess.

    As for my adult life feeling safe has mostly come from God. Once when I was feeling very desperate and alone in a strange place I prayed to God to show me where He was….I was so alone I felt even He was not there. With tears streaming down my cheeks I finished my prayer and opened my bible randomly and it fell to Psalm 139 and I began to read. hmmm. He was right there with me…and always had been. I felt safe at that moment. Ever since that time, I turn to that verse for comfort and strength.

    Not too long ago a dear friend asked me to lay the words of Zephaniah 3:17 on my heart and I am so happy to have done that. It says…The Lord God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing….. I use this verse to remind me daily that He is with me and He will save me, Hes proud of me, He comforts me and rejoices with me. I think that verse encompasses the word “safe”.

    I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT THE WORD “SAFE” IMPLYING WARM AND FUZZY THINGS. I ALSO THINK THAT IS GOOD AND ACCEPTABLE ON A CERTAIN LEVEL. BUT WHEN WE BEGIN TO THINK OF “SAFE” IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AS WE ARE HERE ON EARTH, WE MUST DEVELOP AN EXPANDED DEFINITION, MUSTN’T WE? AND I AGREE COMPLETELY THAT FEELING SAFE AND BEING SAFE ARE TWO DIFFERENT MATTER ENTIRELY. REMEMBER HOW BEING UNDER THE BLANKET ON YOUR BED AS A CHILD MADE YOU FEEL SAFE FROM ANY SHADOWY THINGS THAT MIGHT BE LURKING IN YOUR CLOSET OR UNDER YOUR BED? ANYWAY, IT GAVE ME THE ILLUSION OF SAFETY BUT NOT THE REALITY. AND YES, I THINK WE DO SOMETIMES, MAYBE EVEN OFTEN, CONFUSE SAFE WITH OTHER EMOTIONS (THAT WAS A GOOD INSIGHT, I THOUGHT).
    IN REALITY, THE ONLY PLACE, AFTER ALL, IN ALL THE WORLD WHERE A CHRISTIAN IS “SAFE” IS IN THE WILL AND LOVE OF GOD. IS IT SAFER IN A FIERY FURNACE OR IN ONE’S COMFORTABLE HOME? ANSWER? IN THE FIERY FURNACE FOR THE THREE JEWISH YOUNG MEN! IS IT SAFER TAKING CARE OF SHEEP OR RUNNING INTO A FIGHT WITH A GIANT ARMED (AT LEAST VISIBLY) WITH ONLY A SLING? ANSWER? GOING TO A GIANT FIGHT! IS IT SAFER IN SLAVERY IN EGYPT WITH THE FLESHPOTS AS A FOOD SOURCE OR OUT IN THE WILDERNESS WHERE YOU MIGHT NOT SEE WHERE YOUR NEXT DRINK OR FOOD WAS COMING FROM? ANSWER? YOU KNOW! THE WILL OF GOD CAUSED PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T LOVE THE LIMELIGHT TO STEP OUT OF THE SHADOWS…OUT OF THE COMFORT OF ANONYMITY…INTO A BLARING SPOTLIGHT WHERE THEY FACED (SOMETIMES) HORRIFIC CHALLENGES AND OBSTACLES AND TOOK ON BURDENS THAT LOVE AND FAITH WOULD NEVER AGAIN ALLOW THEM TO PUT DOWN IN THIS LIFE. WHEN IT’S IN OUR HEART TO DO HIS WILL…WELL…THAT’S AS SAFE AS IT GETS FOR US IN THIS LIFE. AND IF IN THE PROCESS OF PURSUING HIS WILL, WE SUFFER (AS MANY FAITHFUL DID AND DO), IF WE ARE MISUNDERSTOOD AND MALIGNED (AS MANY FAITHFUL EXPERIENCED AND STILL DO), OR IF WE LOSE OUR LFE (AS MANY FAITHFUL DID AND DO), WE ARE YET AND IN THE VERY BEST, MOST IMPORTANT WAY, “SAFE.”
    I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME OF ZEPHANIAH 3:17. IT HAS BLESSED MY SOUL THESE PAST FEW DAYS AS I TRY TO MINISTER TO A YOUNG MOTHER WHO HAS VERY, VERY BAD CANCER.
    AND I WANT TO TELL YOU HOW VERY MUCH I ADMIRE THE FAITH OF ANYONE WHO GOES THROUGH THE WRINGER, ESPECIALLY AT A VERY VULNERABLE TIME IN THEIR LIFE, AND WHO IS FORCED TO FACE TERRIBLY TOUGH AND PRESENTLY UNANSWERABLE QUESTIONS THAT WOULD THREATEN BELIEF IN A LOVING AND JUST FATHER GOD WHO YET TRUSTS HIM…WHO IS UNABLE TO BE DONE WITH GOD…WHO CHOOSES RATHER TO DOUBT THEIR DOUBTS THAN TO DOUBT GOD…WHO ASSUMES A POSTURE OF PATIENCE AND TRUSTS THAT ONE DAY…ONE GLORIOUS DAY, GOD WILL RIGHT ALL WRONGS…AND WILL DEMONSTRATE THE RIGHTNESS OF ALL HIS WAYS. I AM AMAZED AT THE STRENGTH, THE PATIENCE, THE COURAGE OF THE FAITH OF SUCH A HUMAN. I JUST NEEDED TO SAY THAT.
    THANK YOU FOR LOVING FATHER GOD…MAY HE BLESS YOU NOW IN THE DECISIONS OF YOUR LIFE…IN THE CONTINUED GROWTH OF YOUR FAITH…IN THE RESPONSIBILITES YOU HAVE. MAY HIS PRESENCE WITH YOU COMFORT YOU AND REMIND YOU OF YOUR REAL SAFETY IN HIM. AND MAY HIS LOVE KEEP YOU IN EVERY GOOD WAY.

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