Have you ever wondered what motivates one man to fight in a war for his country and another to live in an apocalyptic bunker to prepare his family for doomsday? Likewise, what motivates one person to isolate themselves from others or another who cannot stand to be alone? In some way, shape, or form it seems that we all crave an aspect of the same essential thing: safety. We’re not just talking about physical safety, either, as this goes so much deeper–to the core of who we are.
We crave safety in the physical, emotional, and spiritual realms–or at least some variant of the three. Perhaps I shouldn’t try to generalize and speak for everyone else, but I’ll admit that I crave it. For me, perhaps the most appealing element of safety is control. I feel safe in a given realm of life when I can manipulate certain variables to my level of comfort. If those variables go awry and I lose the capacity to regulate them–my sense of safety vanishes.
Each of us goes about trying to arrive at safety from different angles and thus it looks different from person to person and culture to culture. Many want to know that the bases are covered, that our loved ones are protected, or that someone has our back. A few just want to insulate themselves from pain and suffering. While some may want to be safe by avoiding certain types of risk, still others want just the opposite–to be safe from a life of risk avoidance. This pursuit often motivates our job choices, who we vote for, where we live, who we marry, our view of foreign policy, and so many other things. It can even impede our availability to be used by the King.
Safety is an illusion. If our study of the Word doesn’t make it clear enough, our own painful life experiences will. In this life there is absolutely no promise of safety. It is as elusive as happiness. Ask even the richest and most powerful among men, in an honest moment, and they will admit the same.
Security in Christ is a reality. While safety is no guarantee in this life, our security in the One who made us is assured for all eternity. When we approach the Lord Jesus with the faith of a child, He becomes the guarantor par excellence of our security. When we are hidden with Christ in God there is no possibility of being lost or forgotten. When we are in the hands of the Father and the Son there is no chance of being plucked from their grip. In the end, I would gladly trade the illusion of safety that the world promises for the reality of security that Jesus promises.