I keep hearing this phrase "Jesus is not safe" or something similar. At first it just rubbed me the wrong way but today when I read the phrase it really bugged me. So much so that I felt the need to address it.
I understand the point, I think people are trying to make. The point that Jesus does not want us to play it safe, that he wants us to engage our world even when it is scary. But there is a huge difference between being safe and playing it safe.
In playing it safe, we avoid taking any risks because we want to feel safe at all times.
In being safe, WE ARE SAFE.
When you add Jesus to these ideas, playing it safe means we try to create our lives, to control our circumstances, so we feel safe, not because of who Jesus is but because of what we are doing. Playing it safe does not mean we are safe.
When you add Jesus to being safe, you are. His mere presence in your life makes you safe. Your circumstances will change, your emotions will soar up and down, scary things will happen and catastrophe might strike. But in all of it, JESUS IS SAFE!
I was with a small group of women the other day talking about fear from Angie Smith's book "What Women Fear." In the book Smith writes about the analogy of walking a tight rope and how often we hear that God is our net. Smith writes that she thinks God is the balance bar in our hands. If we hold onto him we stay on the rope. He doesn't need to catch us because we don't fall if we hold the bar and let him counter balance our moments of imbalance. I like this.
As I was driving later, I thought about life as a roller coaster. My boys love roller coasters. They love the going fast in the tight turns and the terrifying, scream inducing, stomach lurching big drops. They love every minute of it and as soon as we get off they are ready to run back in line for another turn. They love the roller coasters because they know they are safe. They are locked in to a car on a track that has been time tested. They know if they stay seated with their hands and arms inside the car they will be safe. And because they know they are safe, they are able to enjoy the speed, the drops, the long climbs, and going upside down. They are safe even though it feels incredibly unsafe to this mom who is not a fan of stomach turning and being out of control.
I think life with God is a lot like riding a roller coaster. Just stay inside the car. Stay inside God's care. Follow the tracks he has set before you, no matter where they go. Don't try to get out even when you are about to go down the very long, long, long drop on Splash Mountain. Even though all you want to do is climb out and get off the ride. Because getting out at the wrong time gets you hurt. Getting off the track is dangerous. But staying in the log, staying in God's care, keeps you safe even when the world feels scary and painful.
Life's circumstances will happen but I know that I am safe.
I am safe because of Jesus.
Because Jesus is safe. Absolutely safe.
And because Jesus is safe, because he will take care of me (not necessarily that life will go well and I will never get hurt) I don't have to play it safe. I can step out. I can engage the dark places of this world. I can take risks. I can act justly. I can love mercy. And I can walk humbly with my God.
So please stop saying Jesus is not safe.
JESUS IS SAFE!