Security through Strength
Strength in Weakness
Security in Life & Death
Let’s take a run at this wrestling thing related to life and death and the daily living as the church again. Another major incident that has brought out many emotions and reactions was the recent senseless killing of 17 people (students and teachers) at a high school in Florida. The reactions have been swift and powerful, with students going all the way to the White House to try to invoke change from the top. Much of these with a nation grieving with and for those families effected by one person’s unthinkable actions.
Obviously much of the reaction related to this has been the taking of those young people’s lives… and it goes along with a number of other incidents where this scene has played out before us. Of course any of us would want those young people and children to be totally safe from anything like this… and it seems natural to look to those who govern to put in measures that would protect them.
So I was thinking about the idea of protection, safety, and security related to our lives as individuals and as families. Obviously my human instinct for survival tells me to stay alive at any cost. But then go back to my last blog and read through Billy Graham’s quote again about changing his address and now being more alive than he has ever been. How much does that eternity mindset, and our real home, infiltrate the way we live. Because it seems that with that idea of security for many, it tends to have no regard for the life of others.
So then what do we as Christ followers with this passage from Matthew 5…
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
I am not saying here I have all the answers to this question of security, and clearly we can go through His word and find instances of when God’s people were called on to eradicate evil (at God’s direction). We can say that there is more than one means of defense. But ultimately the question we need to wrestle with is where does our sense of security come from? When we think about the precious commodity of our families, our children, what is the best defense? But we are not guaranteed tomorrow for us or those around us. Life (as we know it on earth) can be so fragile. What does our sense of urgency for protecting them look like… does it look like putting guns in the hands of families or maybe teachers. (after the shooting at a church in Texas I had a brother pose the question to me about having armed guards at our churches) Or are we first and foremost doing what this passage from Deuteronomy 6 encourages us as parents to give our children as their best defense through our daily living with them!!
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Is this a church problem?? And maybe more than that I wonder if how the church has approached this is really working. I wonder if we haven’t leaned so heavily as parents into the church (Children’s ministries / Youth groups / Christian schools) to do this for us? And has the church too easily taken that role on? How are we working with adults in our church who are the best deliverers of this security system in their children’s life? As one whose ministry has been focused more on adults I have often told those working with the children and the students that the ministry I was involved in should be their best friend. But I have seen the backseat that ministries to and through adults typically takes to other ministry groups in the church. We obviously encourage our adults to take part in our Sunday (or Saturday) worship service… but is that really enough? Not that any of those in ministry would probably say that is enough… but take a look at our practices over the theory of that. I am sure we can talk more about this!! (and yes we will because this really falls into the realm of how effect is discipleship happening in our churches). For right now, what security system are we really most passionate about?
“The Lord Himself is not intimidated by our greatest fears. He remains unshaken in our worst calamity. We experience incredible peace and security when we abide in His strength, for He alone is our refuge.” (from Being Still With God by Richard & Henry Blackaby
Is that how we not only talk amongst those who call themselves the church, but also live in a world that certainly is shaken time and time again by the calamities of this world?
God’s name is a place of protection—
good people can run there and be safe. ~Proverbs 18:10~