Safety doesn’t exist.
Safety would require control, which we can’t attain. Suppose that we could ensure safety from car accidents, for example. Would we then also be safe from disease? What about natural disasters? Heartache?
Danger is part of the human condition, and we can’t escape our own frailty.
Why, in that case, does it matter so much to every member of the human race–me included–to feel safe? I think it’s because we assume that safety is the antidote to fear. We’re wrong about that, though. Safety doesn’t remove fear.
Safety doesn’t remove fear.
Take me as an illustration. To my knowledge, I’ve never been in any serious physical danger–no more than the average person who drives a car, at least. Nevertheless, I have been so very afraid.
1. I’m sitting on the floor of a shared bathroom on the hallway of my Oxford dorm, my back against the door. I can’t stand the stress. My thoughts run in an endless loop of distracting, obsessive anxiety. I’m desperate for escape. Help me.
2. I’m sitting on the couch in my counselor’s office, reading the implication in her tone. I’m ready to get married. We’ve done all the necessary preparation–and then some. There’s nothing left to talk about, yet I still don’t feel peace. What are you waiting for?
3. I’m crouching on the wooden floor of my dining room, unable to catch my breath. My husband and I had another fight about the same topic. Every time we push that button, the emotions get more extreme. I don’t see a path forward. What’s the point?
1. God sends a supernatural sense of calm trickling from my scalp to my toes, and I’m suddenly, miraculously free from the circle of my own thoughts. I notice the gentle buzzing of a bare lightbulb, its pull string dangling from the ceiling. Thank you.
2. I finally face the reality that God wants me to make this decision alone, so I work up the courage to tell my mom: I’ve decided to get married. We ask my dad. He agrees. I call my boyfriend. I keep expecting to fall apart, but somehow I never do. How?
3. My husband takes the first step toward reconciliation, and we slowly learn how to communicate about our hot-button topics without exploding. Fights that once would have lasted days last hours now, sometimes only minutes. We’re improving. I love you.
God offers something better than safety.
He wants us to learn trust; He wants us to learn courage; He wants us to learn how to love each other. He knows that, when we’re longing to feel safe, we’re searching for something that doesn’t exist. We’re looking for an easy way out of our anxieties.
Trust conquers fear. Courage conquers fear. Love conquers fear. We can be free without being safe … because we are loved.
We can be free without being safe … because we are loved.
Would you be willing to give up the elusive dream of safety in exchange for the knowledge that you are loved?
The Reluctant Bride
P.S. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment!
P.P.S. I hope it goes without saying, but I’m not arguing that we should give up seeking physical safety from harm. Please be safe.