Believe it or not, this blog is not becoming solely a book-review site. I actually like writing from time to time about other stuff. (That said, I still have…six (?) more book reviews I’m going to try to knock out in the next month or so. So many good books to read!) But I have missed getting to sit down and open up with you fine folks.
Lots of stuff happening in my life right now. Things are good, generally–just a little stressful. The big thing is that we’re trying to move closer to my job, so I’m not on the road a total of 3-4 hours every day. Turns out, I like spending time with my brilliant and lovely wife, so I’d rather be at home with her than on the bus with a bunch of loud, impatient strangers. One of those quirks of my character.
The search for a new place to live has been a stressful one with a lot of factors to consider–distance to work, cost, safety of the area, space requirements, pet regulations, room to grow. Trying to weigh all these parameters has left me a bit frayed at the edges, and more than a bit afraid of the unknowns.
Safety is a big thing for me. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now (and if I’ve already written about this, forgive my bad memory). God is revealing to me in this first year-plus of marriage how much of an idol the idea of “safety and security” has become for me. He seems to be bringing this up to the forefront in order to make me confront my deep-seated fears–fears that I’ve probably carried with me all my life.
Watch out, Dave. Be careful, Dave. Stay inside the lines, Dave. Don’t risk it, Dave. Protect yourself, Dave.
I’m not saying that this was all wrong or that reckless abandon is a wise way to live. But just as a foolish consistency is said to be the hobgoblin of small minds, a slavish concern for personal safety and comfort is the gargoyle perched atop fearful hearts. And that swelling fear of such faceless, shapeless threats has shown how little I really trust that God is indeed sovereign and/or indeed good.
What an amazing and humbling realization to make as a teacher of the Gospel that you’ve never graduated past a prayer of “I believe; help my unbelief!” I’ve have obsessed in no small degree about crime rates and neighborhood safety statistics for a few months, and yet have proclaimed from a podium on Sundays that our God is God over all of the universe, and that nothing escapes His notice or evades His control.
This is where my theology collides head-on with my practice. And here is where my heart has been exposed.
In Sunday School, we’re working our way through the Sermon on the Mount. Last week, one of my co-teachers covered the section about treasure–how our hearts follow our treasure, and our actions follow our hearts. He challenged us to think even beyond mere money, and to fill in the blank: “You cannot serve God and ____.” In my mind, I scrawled “security” in that space. I know, deep down, that if I try to serve both God and my personal safety and security, I will hate the One and love the other, or I will be devoted to the One and despise the other. And, as Paul says, if I want the approval of men, I cannot be a servant of Christ.
Next week, another co-teacher is covering the last part of Matthew chapter 6:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)
Providentially, I’m not teaching these two weeks. I think this may be because God wants me to shut up and listen for once. Maybe I just need to sit quietly and meditate on these things.
I love my wife. I love our life together. But no amount of fretting on my part will perfectly protect her or us any better than God can and does. And if it’s His will that something should befall us, then I know that it will be for His glory and our ultimate good.
I will do my due diligence on the home search, but I have to let go of the delusion that my worry will be a greater shield or strong tower than He is.
Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases. Amen, amen, amen.