“The war (WWII) will fail to absorb our whole attention because it is a finite object and, therefore, intrinsically unfitted to support the whole attention of a human soul.”
– C. S. Lewis
Late one night I was contemplating the safety of my wife and kids. I was on a ship somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea. If you are a thinker, underway on a ship at night can be a lonely place. I worried about who would check the front door and make sure it was locked. What if they had a flat tire, who would help them? What if the baby got sick? What if someone broke into the house? What if my wife gets in a wreck? On and on it went. My own bad news network broadcasting in my head. My favorite channels to tune into: doubt, fear, and worry. There seemed to be no end to the channel surfing. But I got a break through signal from God. He walked me through some simple thoughts: what if you weren’t 4000 miles from home right now, you’re on the ship sitting at the pier in homeport…I was liking this channel…now imagine you have to spend the night on the ship because you have duty…ok I may not like this channel so much…but you’re there and your family is at your house about 20 miles away, who is keeping your family safe from the things you’re worrying about? I had to say all of my fears could come true even if the ship was in homeport. Then He asked me if all of them could come true if I was in the house or car with my family. All of them could. God revealed to me His constant watchfulness and care was what kept my family safe (and always had been). What a blow to my ego! It’s not me who’s been ensuring our well being it is God. In that moment I didn’t relinquish control of my family, I acknowledged I never had control of my family. What a relief!
Who is keeping you safe? If I was depending upon our government to keep us safe I would still be up in the middle of the night, not because it is incompetent, but because the absolute safety of a soul is beyond the reach of any government. If any government of ours ever sets out to make us each “safe” we should all head for the hills as fast as we can go. The only way humans know to keep other humans safe is to take away their freedom. It is only in a sovereign creator God that we find both freedom and safety. As C.S. Lewis said of World War II, war will fail to absorb our whole attention because it is finite. We should add fear, worry, doubt…everything else will fail to hold our attention because we have infinite souls. We have God sized souls. Rest, peace and hope only come from having God in our souls, and once you’ve recognized and invited infinity into your soul, the finite will have to flee. When all the bad news starts again, instead of letting it force you to ask “where is God?” let it remind you that you are not in control, and you need God. The distance between you and safety is the exact distance between you and God. How far apart are you? At Calvary God erased the distance between Himself and us through Christ. Now, through faith in Him, we can say there is no distance between our souls and God. That is safety. No wonder Jesus said “Let not your heart be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”
My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore. Ps 131