Is Life Dangerous? Or Safe?

“The need to be loved, to belong, is at the very core of our wiring; it is our most primal requirement for safety.

Thus, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is no small affair.”
– Nancy Colier

slip-up-danger-careless-slippery

It happens again. My knee is red. Stop the bleeding.

But it’s no biggie. I cut myself shaving. It happens.

This world is not a safe place.

God is “not a tame lion.” (Thank you, C.S. Lewis, for that imagery.)

  • My feelings get hurt by an offhand comment.
  • I get stuck in the slowest line at Publix.
  • My stomach aches after I eat barbecue.

We don’t live in a bubble, gifted with perfect protection just because we believe in Jesus.

But what we get is safer?

Yes. Even though we don’t always realize it. I’m still growing into understanding.

What we get is what we want the most. In our deepest, often unaware, moments.

  • Radical forgiveness
  • Supernatural love
  • Spiritual might

Larry Crabb explains it in The Pressure’s Off:

What then is our greatest need? We need . . .

radical forgiveness that makes it possible for unholy people to come near to a holy God and live;

supernatural love that empowers naturally selfish people to care more about someone else other than themselves, thus revealing God;

spiritual might that actually changes bad people into good people, not good merely by society’s standards—we have plenty of folks like that—but good like God, good enough to value ultimate goodness.”

Left to ourselves, we’re dangerous. So says John,

  • We want our own way.
  • We want everything for ourselves.
  • We want to appear important.

. . . things that have “nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates me from him” (1 John 2:16, The Message). Those things make us unstable.

But in Christ, our weaknesses are covered.

We’re safer than we feel.

Safe from condemnation, from meaninglessness, from ourselves.

We’ll still get headaches. We’ll still be too sensitive to a snippety glance. We’ll still be too selfish for our own good. (And I’ll still likely knick my legs while shaving.)

These things leave marks on us. They bruise. Sometimes they cut.

But to be embraced by God in the midst of it all?

That’s the good life.
The life of freedom.
The saved life.

my-life-is-safe-psalm-118-17

* * *

What makes you feel in danger? What makes you feel safe? Please share in the comments.

Related:

revised from the archives

46 thoughts on “Is Life Dangerous? Or Safe?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Count me in as a Larry Crabb fan too. His books have helped me so much through the years. I’m not surprised that you like him too, Linda!

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great essay, Lisa.

    I tend to draw a distinction between the temporal and transcendent; in the natural, life is most decidedly not safe for me. I have stopped breathing, and felt the absolute impossibility to take another (until an 80-lb Pit Bull landed on my chest, barking furiously, canine CPR).

    In the transcendent I am OK, but I think there’s value in the temporal fear, because it breeds compassion. It says “Don’t be afraid” something like 365 times in the Bible, but placing ourselves by force of will in transcendent fearlessness can reduce our empathy for someone who’s hurt and terrified.

    We want to give the gift of fearlessness, but too often we turn it into a ‘should’…if you had more faith you’d have less fear.

    It sounds stupid and 70s to say, “Embrace your temporal fear!”…kind of like hugging your Inner Child. But I think there is room for accepting with it, and as the Buddhists say, sitting with it mindfully.

    Love can only be a shared experience, and if we want to truly love others we have to allow ourselves to be immersed in the River of Pain, and swim to the suffering.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/05/your-dying-spouse-307-im-still-useful.html
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 307 – I’m Still Useful, But…My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Our bodies are fragile, for sure. I’m thankful that we don’t ultimately have to stay in control of what happens to our bodies since we can’t anyway. You’ve definitely felt more than your fair share of body pain, Andrew. 🙁
      “Sitting with it mindfully” – I’ve had to do that at times myself, even though my pain doesn’t even begin to match yours.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, that makes perfect sense to me, TC. It wouldn’t be wise for any of us to always trust our feelings. I’d probably never go anywhere or do anything if I listened solely to the voice of fear and timidity that can speak loudly to me. 🙂 How blessed we are to know that our true identity lies in who God says we are! I wouldn’t want to have to live life any other way.

  2. Barbara H.

    Some time ago I read an article by a missionary taking issue with the phrase that “the safest place to be is the will of God.” I don’t remember for sure, but I think he was ministering in a place considered not the safest, and people said this in a well-meaning way, as if everything would be okay with his family because they were where God wanted them to be. He said there is a sense in which that’s true, but that doesn’t mean nothing “bad” will ever happen to us. In Biblical times people were slandered, beaten, killed, and that happens today as well. But we’re safe in that God is with us, will provide grace for whatever He allows, and will take us home to glory when it’s all over. I’d still rather nothing “bad” ever happened – but I guess there won’t be a guarantee of that until heaven.
    Barbara H. recently posted…Book Review: A Portrait of Emily PriceMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Very good commentary, Barbara. If we define “safety” as nothing bad will ever happen to us, then no, we don’t live in safety. But if we trust that God’s grace will always find us even in the bad things, then we are safe. I’d still prefer nothing bad too though. 🙂 I trust that God understands that as well. Even Jesus didn’t want to have to die on the cross if there had been another way. Yet not our will, but His. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      So few words, such BIG thoughts, Anita! Love these two sentences. It sums it all up. Control is our pacifier, but it doesn’t give us any nutrition that we need for life.

  3. Trudy

    I love this, Lisa. I don’t feel safe when Satan’s lies pummel at me or when I can’t seem to stop criticizing myself, but I do feel safe when I let myself fall into the arms of Jesus and rest in His love. I had to play and replay the video clip of Lucy crying for Aslan to stay. It was good to be reminded of Aslan and his faithfulness to always return. Even when we can’t see God, He is still always watching over us, isn’t He? As you say – “We’re safer than we feel. Safe from condemnation, from meaninglessness, from ourselves.” Amen! Thank you for all this encouragement, my friend! Love and hugs to you!
    Trudy recently posted…Learning To Trust Our God-given VoiceMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      We’re in agreement, Trudy. Even when we can’t see God, he is there. That brings me comfort. I should probably re-read all of the Lion books again soon. Such good thoughts about God there from C. S. Lewis. Have a blessed week!

  4. Lesley

    I think it’s true that with God “we’re safer than we feel.” I don’t feel safe when I focus on circumstances around me and worry about the future, but I do feel safe when I focus on God and know that whatever happens he is with me and his plan is good.
    Lesley recently posted…Lights Of HopeMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s so much about our focus, yes? You’re right, Lesley. I play the “what if” game too much, but when my focus is there instead of on God’s grace, I can feel so afraid. I don’t like that feeling! I’d much rather remember God’s goodness.

  5. Ellie

    The world is never a safe place. It’s very dangerous, you have to be tough to be able to survive it. But like what you said in this essay, being with God allows you to toughen up and survive in this dangerous world we live in. Thank you for sharing this and reminding me again that God is always with us and as long as we embrace Him, we will find peace.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Peace can feel elusive at times in this crazy place. But yes, knowing God is always with us brings that deep-down peace that nothing can touch. Thanks for sharing, Ellie.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s a beautiful prayer, Lux. We’d all be better off if we also would ask God to remove in us what is not his. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. David

    Dear Lisa

    Interesting you should put it like this. Since I have been thinking of myself in this New Way, I have felt safer — safe. Not that God will not let me fall off my bike or that He’ll protect me from the fists of Nasty Neighbour; more that, whatever happens to me, as long as I hold on to Jesus, I will be safe, stable and strong (in some way, whatever that means, …). Finding and grasping and holding on is not always easy, and often I don’t even think of it, but it is gradually becoming second nature, and I hope one day it will be a second home.

    David
    David recently posted…New goalsMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “in some way…whatever that means…” is a good way to put it, David. 🙂 When I ponder what being “saved” means, I often return to what being “safe” means. Holding on to assurance that God’s got us, no matter what, is the most secure way to live.

  7. Pam

    Great post, Lisa! What makes me feel safer? Knowing without doubt that a gracious and merciful God loves me and will never leave me, to know He is good! What makes me feel in danger? Getting distracted from the truth of Him by the cares of this life, news headlines, and the taunts of the enemy that can create doubts.
    Pam recently posted…Catching the WindMy Profile

  8. Karen Woodall

    The world has become a scary place to a large degree, but I keep telling my family that we have too much information. Things that just affected one small community a few years ago, are now create national crisis. While some of those things are important, many are not and serve only to create fear. We, as believers, need to learn to trust God more. If He is in control, then we don’t need to create a culture of fear. Thanks for reminding us that we’re always safe in the hands of God.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Totally agree with you, Karen. There have always been bad things happening in the world, but we just weren’t aware of them all, like we are today. I do love our technology, and wouldn’t want to live without it, but it can create unnecessary fears that we aren’t meant to carry. I like how you put it: “we don’t need to create a culture of fear.” Culture stands out to me; may I keep remembering God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but places us in a culture of grace.

  9. Bill (cycleguy)

    I liked this Lisa. There isn’t much I’m afraid of. After being hit by the car I had to overcome that or never ride again. I refuse to be crippled by that fear. I know there is always a possibility of that. But I also know there is a possibility of getting into a car wreck or whatever. I trust in the One who is wilder than me.
    Bill (cycleguy) recently posted…ExplanationMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I wish I could say there isn’t much I’m afraid of. I have to do many things afraid, but thankfully most of my fears, while annoying, aren’t too crippling. I’m glad that you were able to override any fears about riding again. I love your final statement: “I trust in the One who is wilder than me.” Beautifully stated! Thanks, Bill.

  10. floyd

    Contemplative post. The miracle of our flesh and sense is amazing, but it’s not near as mind staggering as the gift of eternal life, the one where we spend it with the One that created us.
    floyd recently posted…A ROMANTIC NOTIONMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Floyd. I appreciate how you put this all in a positive perspective. Our flesh is indeed miraculous, but it doesn’t outshine our eternal life.

  11. Beverley

    I feel like i have too many things to work through right now, but all God says is Wait. Waiting is not easy when you’re waiting for an answer, a direction, a purpose and God knows it. So, God gave me a gift, he gave me Peace in the waiting. Does it make it easier? Not always, but if i focus on the gift instead of the problem the peace is there, it is always there.
    Is life safe? No. But God will always send us what we need.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Waiting in itself can feel so problematic. On one hand, it can feel like the safe thing to do. But on the other hand, it can leave us feeling so powerless and thus dangerous. Receiving God’s peace in the waiting is indeed a beautiful gift! I’m glad you’ve been able to have that grace as you wait. Thanks for sharing truths here, Beverley.

  12. Debbie Wilson

    Lisa, your post reminded me of something Linda Evans Shepherd says in her book, “When You Don’t Know What to Pray.” After being in an airplane that had to make an emergency landing she heard the Lord whisper something to the effect of when she’s with Him she couldn’t be any safer any place else.
    Debbie Wilson recently posted…What Does God Want You to Do?My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, that is good, Debbie. So true that the only safe place is with Christ, wherever that happens to be! Now to move that knowledge from my head to my heart again and again.

  13. Edith

    Beautiful post. Things may not be perfect but God’s love ultimately makes all things beautiful for us. We have every reason to feel safe and loved. Thanks for sharing. (Christian Blogger Community Linkup)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Edith. This is definitely an imperfect world with our fragile bodies, but grateful that those things aren’t the most important. We are safe and loved, amen!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I love that verse, too, Sarah. There are often times that I also feel in danger, but thankfully our feelings don’t necessarily reflect reality.

  14. Laura Thomas

    Such a thought-provoking post, Lisa… I think as a mom I tend to be more aware of dangers for my almost-grown children than for myself. And I guess that’s a control thing :/ We long for our kids to be healthy and safe and happy and all the good things, but life isn’t always how we would like it to be. And then there’s our Heavenly Father—who loves our kids so much more than we do. Committing them into His capable hands is the safest thing I can ever do! Stopping by from #TellHisStory

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You hit a nerve, Laura. My biggest fears are more for my kids than for myself. But you also provide the solution: committing them to the One who loves them even more than we do, and who can actually DO something about it all. 🙂 Blessings to you!

  15. Tiffany Parry

    What makes me feel safe is knowing that God is on the throne. It can be scary to live in the light of that surrender, but when I remember that His immense love for us and His good plans, it makes me grateful to have Him on my side!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You speak truth, Tiffany. It’s more important to our safety that God is in control versus that we are in control. He’s the one with the power. I want to him on my side too!

  16. Dianne Thornton

    I think on this side of the globe we tend to feel “safe” because our lives are not threatened, we don’t live under the threat of persecution for our faith, (most of us) have food to eat, etc. I tend to feel less safe on an emotional level. As another mom mentioned in the comments, my concerns are more on my kids and the choices they face as they face college decisions and all the “adulting” required of them.
    Dianne Thornton recently posted…Treasure Your Teens by Entering Their WorldMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You make a good point, Dianne: we may feel more physically safe, but less emotionally safe, depending on where we are. Either way, I want to trust God’s definition of safety more than my own! Thanks for making this distinction. Hope you’re having a blessed Mother’s Day.

  17. Jean Wise

    wow you have me thinking and reading all the great comments too. Lots to ponder. I have been thinking a lot lately about the power behind our human need to belong – quite a motivator to all behavior and holds more swing over my heart than I care to admit. Probably fear is at the core of that too. God makes me feel safe, resting in his spirit and promises. Knowing my self too, being mindful of what is stirring in my heart helps me draw near to him and to hear him in the confusing mud of living. Have a great weekend, Lisa
    Jean Wise recently posted…The Spiritual Practice of TransformationMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      There is a lot to think about just in your comment, Jean. Our need to belong can definitely influence our behaviors, both risky and otherwise. It’s amazing how many things can hold sway over how we perceive our “safety.”


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