Is God Safe?

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT)

In C. S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia, there is a scene from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when the children learn that Aslan is a lion, “the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver…. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Of all the ways we tend to think of God – loving, kind, caring, compassionate – and on and on, we rarely stop to consider that He is strong, powerful, mighty, indestructible, unconquerable. Yet, when we’re in a difficult circumstance, who do you want to come to your aid? A little wimpy god who MIGHT be able to help against the devil? Or “a roaring lion” – as Peter describes him?

We seem so quick to dismiss fear in reference to God as simply “reverence,” which it can mean. But it can also be translated: “terror, exceedingly dreadful, awesome or terrifying.” My dad was never mean to me and rarely spoke to me in an angry voice, but I knew from an early age that if push came to shove, he could clean my clock and never break a sweat.

God is anything but “safe” if you’re walking in blatant disregard to His commands. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11:28: “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” To view our heavenly Father as the proverbial white-haired old gentleman casually passing His time sitting in His holy rocker thinking loving thoughts of you, is to think wrongly of Him.

Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 1:7b-9: “He will come with His mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from His glorious power.”

It’s also wrong to believe that God is so loving that He will keep us safe from harm of any kind. I love how John Stonestreet of the Colson Center puts it: “Though we love the idea that God is not ‘safe,’ we often live as if our safety or comfort marks the boundaries of our relationship with Him. Catechized by bad theology, captivated by our culture’s enablement of self-centeredness, or weary of an angry and fractious age, many Christians cannot conceive that God’s will for our lives could involve anything unpleasant or uncomfortable. When it does and our expectations collapse, we wonder if God cares, having conflated God’s faithfulness with a painless, placid life of blessing and provision. We are quick to assume that pain or discomfort means that God’s will has been thwarted, or that His love and protection have been withdrawn. It’s difficult to accept that, rather than a sign of God’s absence, the presence of pain could be a sign of His sovereign care.”

In my pain, whether physical, spiritual, emotional, or otherwise, I’ve learned that God is a very present help in my time of need. Pain is never, an indication that God is punishing us or has deserted us; rather, it’s an opportunity for us to see Him in ways and on levels of comfort and care we’ve never experienced Him before.

It’s in that setting that God’s “safety” is highlighted and appreciated in ways that can’t be realized when we’re nestled in our false little cocoons of safety and security from all the ills of the world. We who have yielded our lives and allegiance to Jesus are certainly secure in His loving care, but that doesn’t mean we’re protected from the inevitable effects of living in a world of sin. He is our Rock and shelter in the storms of life, not from them.

Is God safe? Absolutely yes if you’re His child. But there will be hell to pay if you’re not! But don’t misunderstand, it’s not because He’s a bully just waiting to punish those who disobey Him, it’s because He sacrificed the life of His only Son to secure our salvation. To dismiss Jesus is to dismiss His Father’s sacrificial love offering for our sin.

Food for thought.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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