“Is it safe?” That line from the 1970s movie “Marathon Man” asks in three words a question that is pondered by humanity. (A good movie that made me anxious for the rest my life about going to the dentist!)
Safety is a big deal for us – just consider car commercials and home security commercials. They all pander to our desire to be totally safe.
Cars now have features that alert us to objects or people in front or behind the car in case we don’t see them. They even have auto-braking features to assist you in case there is an undetected issue. I saw a truck commercial that had cameras that allowed you to see the vehicles behind you as though the trailer that you are towing was not there.
House safety is big also. Now you can have doorbell buttons that allow you to see and hear the visitor on your smartphone no matter where you are. Truly we are living in a time when technology is making us safer. But the question remains, “Is it safe?”
Safety has been a vital concern for mankind from the beginning of time. Early men and women sought to keep their families safe by building better sleeping quarters, fences and other home defense measures.
We tell our children, “Don’t run with those scissors, or don’t hand me that knife blade first, or don’t stick that in the electric outlet.” All of these instructions and more are given for the safety of our kids and perhaps even for ourselves.
But even with all these safety measures and instructions, we still see people injured and even die from dangerous situations. We continue to create more safety features in our lives so that we can feel “safe.”
Why is safety so important to us? Are safety measures put into place so we can go about our lives without conscious concern about our behavior?
Perhaps we put them in place so we do not have to worry about feeling pain. But even with all the safety warnings and instructions put into place I still slip and fall on ice, hit my thumb with a hammer and have been known to bump into the car behind me even though I have sensors on my car’s rear bumper. Perfect safety does not seem possible.
I don’t know anyone who tells me they feel perfectly safe in the world today. All of the TSA agents in the world don’t protect us perfectly, we find.
But I have found that God, who is responsible for our eternal safety, is two things to us regarding safety: First, he is someone whom I can go to that will assure my eternal safety, and second, it’s comforting to know that he cares more than I do about my safety, in particular my eternal safety.
In the Old Testament in the book of Psalms, Chapter 4, Verse 8, the author says this about God:
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For you alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.” The author clearly states that he is able to peacefully sleep because he knows God.
This really hits at the heart of the human condition – that is, to know and to be known by God. Ultimately, it is our understanding of the truth that there is a God who loves us and cares for us and our positive response to it, in that we truly gain peace.
One of the best-known Psalms is the 23rd Psalm. Most of us know it well. It’s the one that starts out, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” About halfway through, it says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.” The writer is sharing the truth that he discovered – that he feels completely safe because he is living in the presence of God.
We are going to hear many sales pitches, promises and guarantees for our safety, and the reality is that we will still experience pain and hurts despite these promises. But the only promise or guarantee that is given that is ironclad is the one given by God, someone who cares about your safety even more than you do.
Only in our relationship with God can we experience the true peace that comes from knowing we are safely in his hands.
The Rev. John Myers is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Salida.