Safety in a Wild World
by Jaime Jo Wright
I don’t feel safe. At least fifty percent of my days are spent expecting tragedy or trauma at any moment. I realize this sounds extreme, but if we’re honest with ourselves, many of us are geared this way. Whether our backgrounds, our families, our experiences, our childhood, or maybe just an innate sense of pessimism triggers this doomsday cloud, the fact remains, it’s real. Some of us fear death, injury to our families, abandonment, worthlessness, a shift in political tide, a pandemic . . . the list is endless, and no one threat to our safety and security is worse than the other. In the end, the baseline point remains: we don’t feel safe.
A lot of articles are written about faith. Many of the words we read on faith are thickly woven tapestries of wisdom, challenging us to rise to the occasion, rest on His promises, and step out with confidence that the Lord will catch us when we fall. But faith is hard. In my darkest moments, sometimes reading words that encourage my faith only serve to make me feel worse. Weaker. Tired. Oh, so very tired.
Are you tired?
Safety is synonymous with rest. When the storm brewed around the ship, and the disciples were exhausted fighting its watery clutches, Jesus rested in safety below deck. Safety is like a warm blanket that wraps us up—our exhausted, weary selves—and whispers that it’s safe to close our eyes. That we are protected. That someone else is on watch and we don’t have to keep an ear open for danger, an eye open for threat, and our mind open to calculate escape. Safety is rest.
The last few years have held some very dark times for me. In one of those darkest moments, my son came home from school excited. He had memorized a Bible verse and he couldn’t wait to tell it to me. With pride and gusto, he recited:
“In peace, I will both lie down and sleep, for You, oh Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
His recitation was followed with an announcement. “I don’t have to be scared at nighttime anymore, Mommy, and you’re probably gonna get some sleep now, ‘cause I won’t be waking you up!”
He was right. He slept like an infant, swaddled and nestled in his bed. There was safety in the verse he had learned, and there was a promise.
Are you tired? Lie down and sleep. He keeps guard. The only faith required is to close your eyes, breathe deep of the grace of Christ, allow the warmth of His blanket of love to curl around you, and rest.
We tend to skim verses like these, because somehow sleep and rest don’t imply strength and fortitude. We gravitate to the big verses that are rooted in truth and a warrior-spirit. But when we are tired, when we are exhausted, it is words like these that we need to allow to permeate our souls. Permission to lie down in peace.
What a promise! He stands guard! He keeps the ear, the eye, the mind aware! Yes, the world is chaos around us. Certainly, trauma may be just a moment away. Perhaps tragedy dogs our step and we’ll crash into it when we awaken. But for now. Just this moment. Rest. Breathe deep of the promise of His watchfulness. Sleep. In peace.
Jaime Jo Wright is the author of Christy Award-Winning novel, The House on Foster Hill. She loves to read—and write—fiction with elements of mystery, faith, and romance from her home in Wisconsin. She’s a coffee drinker by day and night, lives in dreamland, and exists in reality.
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