If you studied cities in the Bible you would find that the first city was created in rebellion to God. After killing Able, Cain was commanded to be a wanderer under the protection of the Lord. But what did Cain do? He built a city because he was afraid. Babel was created because man believed in their own name and power. God never intended for us to find our glory and our safety in something we could build. Yet, the history of the world shows that we stubbornly pursue anything that allows us to feel secure apart from God.
Personally I feel that this has been the greatest downfall of America. What happens when you are lulled into feeling safe by your own design? You lose your edge, you forget your passion, you become puffed up, ignorant consumers. For all of our talk about education we are a shockingly ignorant nation who trusts in our perceived safety instead of God's.
I've recently been thinking a lot about this because there are some individuals who refuse to come to our home or to World Impact because of their perceived lack of safety. There are others who have opinions about the people in our community that may be well meaning but are completely ignorant of truth.
I can't help but feel a little offended when people say things about my neighborhood and neighbors that are founded in ignorance and ungodly fear. I do not judge the initial fear or ignorance, the feeling that this community may be very unfamiliar and therefore scary or wrong, but I do judge an unwillingness to understand or expose yourself to something outside the walls of your own "city of safety."
Each of us have our own "city of safety." It might be education, or a house in the suburbs, or church, or a house in the country, or a job, or money. None of these things are bad in and of themselves, but when we run to these for a feeling of security we have run from God.
My challenge to myself and also to you, is to seek God to the point that it makes us uncomfortable. Is there any area of your life that makes you feel like you must cling to God in order to manage or lean on Him to give you new eyes of understanding? If not, you may need to evaluate what you are pursuing.
I am reminded of a quote from C. S. Lewis' The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe where when talking about Aslan the Beavers say to the children:
"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.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.The plans God has for each of us are not safe by worldly standards. We should not seek to avoid the things we fear, or teach our children ignorance and prejudice by example. But, we can know that God, while asking us to go to places that test our faith, will always do so with love and goodness in mind not only for us, but also for the whole world.
“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good."