There was a shooting in my hometown today. Someone shot two people in a motel not far from my house. Thankfully, neither of the victims were killed. Still, the crime unsettles me.
Growing up, I always felt like the area where I lived was safe. But lately things like this have been happening, and it shows me how close I am to danger and wickedness. It makes me want to get as far as I can from it. To find a cabin in the wilderness somewhere and just hide.
It’s not just the possibility that I could get hurt but the reality that people are getting hurt that bothers me. Someone’s life has been changed because of that shooting, and I would rather just not think about it. But the truth is that bad things happen. A line from one of my favorite movies, The Village, says, “We cannot run from heartache. Heartache is a part of life.” My choice is to either go on ignoring the horrible things that are happening or try to do something about them.
In America, we value safety and comfort. But God is not always concerned with safety in the way we define it. It wasn’t very safe for Peter to step out of a boat onto a lake in the middle of a storm. It wasn’t safe for Esther to walk unsummoned into the king’s court to tell him his right-hand man was attempting genocide. And it certainly wasn’t safe for David to challenge a giant with only a sling. But those people chose obedience over safety. And the funny thing is, they were really as safe as they could ever have been because they were under God’s protection.
Matthew 10:28 says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Hell.” If you have been saved by the blood of Christ, the worst anyone can do to you is kill you. And death isn’t even a loss because you will be with God after you die.
I know that I must be obedient to God whether I feel safe doing it or not. And I know that, as I move from place to place over the next few years, I will not feel completely safe all of the time. I may encounter some terrible things. I can only pray that God will use me in the midst of all that brokenness to bring others into his family, where they will be eternally safe.