In Others’ Words: Safety

View from my porch on Saturday, June 23, 2012

 

“There is no security on this earth. Only opportunity.”

~ Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), American general

It’s been an interesting weekend.

The Waldo Canyon Fire, which erupted west of Colorado Springs, disrupted our lives.

Saturday night we went from voluntary evacuation status to mandatory evacuation status — and back again. Since then, we’ve been on alert. And yes, we’re still home.

We have suitcases stashed at my daughter and son-in-love’s apartment — as well as my can’t-be-replaced family photos. Each of the kids picked one or two treasured items. Other than that, so long as my people are safe, I’m fine.

My husband Rob and I went for our customary evening walk, only this time smoke tinged the air. We talked about safety … and how God’s definition of safety must be different from ours. Our friend “Wise Guy” was the first person to point this out: How God promises to keep us safe — and yet, bad things still happen. Does this mean God doesn’t keep his promise?

Nope.

As I said, I think we have different working definitions of safety. When God promises to deliver us from our fears (Psalm 34:4), that’s not some holy escape clause — certainly not if you take David’s life as an example.

Instead, I think Psalm 34:4 is reminder that God is with us during the scary times — and he helps us to not be afraid.

That’s a whole different kind of safety — trust replacing fear.

Only then can you see the opportunities waiting for you:

  • to keep trusting
  • to encourage others to trust
  • to help others in need
  • to see beauty in the midst of trials
  • to appreciate what you have
  • to see what’s valuable — and what’s not

In Your Words: What does security look like for you? What opportunities have you discovered in the less-than-safe-times?


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41 Comments

  1. June 25, 2012, 6:20 am   /  Reply

    First, I’m so thankful you guys are still safe and at home. Those Colorado fires are crazy.

    Today I blogged about something very similar, leaving our safety zones behind to follow God’s invitation, despite the fear that begs us to walk away. Last year my husband and I were afraid to step out in faith and buy a new house, while we still owned the first one, but we knew it was an invitation from God and we took those steps, even while fear taunted us. I’m so thankful we did it.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 8:31 am   /  Reply

      Looking forward to reading your blog post today, Grabrielle. Love it when my blog post dovetails with others’ posts.
      :O)

  2. June 25, 2012, 6:50 am   /  Reply

    You know me, Beth, the word ‘safety’ triggered my research curiosity because of Kristoffer. Modern day definition of safety? The condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury: “they should leave for their own safety”. Denoting something designed to prevent injury or damage: “a safety barrier”; “a safety helmet”.
     
    The biblical definitions of safety?  Peace, stability, health, prosperity, welfare, security, certainty, undoubted truth, security from enemies and dangers, to seek or  take refuge, bring to refuge,  a place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold, harbour, refuge (of God) (fig.),  human protection (fig.), deliverance, salvation, rescue,  victory.  

    Even this biblical definition of safety “Friendship with God, as in covenant relationship” reveals that every biblical definition points to only one place of safety–trusting in God our refuge, our protector, our harbour, our stronghold, our deliverer, our peace, our salvation, and finally in Kristoffer’s case, the safety of eternal life–victory over death. Heaven looks sweeter every day.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 8:32 am   /  Reply

      You understand safety better than most, Brill.

  3. June 25, 2012, 7:05 am   /  Reply

    I was wondering last night if any of my facebook friends were located in Colorado near the fires–so glad you are safe and are trusting God in all things~

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 8:33 am   /  Reply

      Thank you, “TT.”
      And yes, trusting God in all things.

  4. June 25, 2012, 7:25 am   /  Reply

    Be safe and keep us posted!

    I WANT security to mean nothing bad ever happens. But that’s just not reality. Like you said, security means I have His arms to run to when something bad inevitably comes. Those times WILL come. I hate them in many ways, but I love how they push me toward Him.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 8:33 am   /  Reply

      The tough times can push me one of two ways: toward God or away from him.
      It’s always a choice.

  5. June 25, 2012, 7:38 am   /  Reply

    Hoping you’re all okay and that the fires are getting stopped!

    Love your perspective on this (and McArthur’s quote!). It’s so hard when we don’t feel safe. I think that feeling of unease and mistrust can stick with us, unless we keep giving it over to God! Car wrecks seem to be one way of “waking us up” to the brevity of life. They always make me re-evaluate things!

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 8:34 am   /  Reply

      I hadn’t read this MacArthur quote before — it’s a new favorite.

  6. Jeanne
    June 25, 2012, 7:52 am   /  Reply

    Such great thoughts, Beth. As usual. For me, security is being in a place where I trust God, even when things around me don’t make sense or feel safe. Do I live consistently in this place? No. But I’m seeking to.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 8:34 am   /  Reply

      Like you, Jeanne, I am seeking to live in this place of trusting God to be my safety, my security.

  7. June 25, 2012, 8:00 am   /  Reply

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers through the fire scare. I sure hope you don’t need those stashed suitcases.

    One of our less-than-safe-times was when I was let go from a job the same day my husband quit his. Our scary time led to new careers for both of us, more time off with our kids, and eventually learning to trust in God’s provisions instead of trying to live by our own grit. I wish it was as easy as that last sentence sounds, but I shook through most of our changes. In hindsight, those times were necessary to build my faith and my writing content. : )

    Let us know what’s happening with you over the next week or so.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 8:35 am   /  Reply

      Will keep you posted, Kim.
      And yes, we writers are odd ducks — all these experiences are potential writing fodder.
      😉

  8. June 25, 2012, 8:50 am   /  Reply

    Psalm 121:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”
    God is our ultimate Watchman.
    Praying for you and praying for rain. (No lightning!)

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:14 pm   /  Reply

      Great verse, Pat.
      And thanks for your prayers.

  9. Angie Arndt
    June 25, 2012, 9:20 am   /  Reply

    Reminds me of Mr. Beaver’s answer to Lucy, “‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver […] ‘Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.'”

    Last night I had a little panic attack when we were settled down in bed because my dog sat bolt upright and barked his head off into the darkness. For some reason it really scared me! I had to remind myself over and over that we were His children and He would care for us.

    Praying for your safety, Beth! Please keep us informed.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:14 pm   /  Reply

      I love that passage from Narnia, Angie!
      Thanks for your prayers.

  10. June 25, 2012, 9:31 am   /  Reply

    Beth, I’m so glad you’re safe and will pray that you and everyone else remains that way. The verse you share from Psalm 34 provides such peace and hope. I can relate so well to what you guys are facing after we experienced the terrible Texas wildfires here last August that destroyed so much. One of my best friends lost everything down the stubs of her home. But God has provided an OVERabundance in return. He is so faithful to look out for us.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:15 pm   /  Reply

      Wow, Donna — how sad to hear about your friend’s loss — and then what joy to hear about God’s provision of over-abundance!

  11. June 25, 2012, 9:55 am   /  Reply

    Be careful, be safe!

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:15 pm   /  Reply

      Will do, friend, will do.

  12. June 25, 2012, 10:20 am   /  Reply

    What an awesome perspective. The human spirit is incredibily resiliant and able to overcome most anything. Thanks for sharing your spirit with us Beth.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:16 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you, Reebs.
      Leaning into all the prayers being prayed …

  13. June 25, 2012, 10:24 am   /  Reply

    I’m praying for your safety, Beth, and protection for you home…and all those firefighters!

    Security is Christ. I know this. But oh my goodness do I have issues living it at times! It’s waaaay too easy for me to find security in either accomplishments or other people…and while there’s a degree of surface-level security there, it’ll never compare to my real Security.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:16 pm   /  Reply

      True words, Melissa.
      Choosing to live this out — it can be a struggle at times.
      But I know such peace when I rest in His security.

  14. June 25, 2012, 10:31 am   /  Reply

    So thankful you’re safe and keeping us updated. Praying for your situation and the safety of everyone involved. Fires can be so deadly, yet they encourage new growth. Funny paradigm.

    This quote was in our church bulletin yesterday:
    Security is having the Word of God in your own language. Peace is having the Word of God in your heart. ~Corrie Ten Boom

    May God’s peace fill your heart so full that there’s no room left for fear and doubt.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:17 pm   /  Reply

      What a stupendous quote, LJ!
      🙂

  15. Loree Huebner
    June 25, 2012, 10:44 am   /  Reply

    Keeping you and your neighbors in my thoughts and prayers.

    Trust. Trust. Trust.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:17 pm   /  Reply

      Trust. Trust. Trust.

      Thank you, Loree.

  16. Carla Foote
    June 25, 2012, 12:51 pm   /  Reply

    Good words Beth, I think it is easy in our culture to confuse safety and comfort with security, and to expect all of these as American Christians. All we can absolutely count on is that God is good and he is with us in everything. I have learned to redefine my expectation of safety as I have let my daughter go minister to migrants in Mexico. First on the border, and now in southern Mexico, working with migrants from Central America. She isn’t necessarily safe, but she is offering a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name, to those who have little.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:17 pm   /  Reply

      I know you’ve walked this out for months now, Carla.

  17. June 25, 2012, 2:02 pm   /  Reply

    Excellent outstanding “been-there now” blog. May the fire come under full control.
    Meanwhile, security for the Hebrew children, Daniel, Jonah and more, was God’s presence remaining with them. That’s good enough for me–all I ask. Everything else necessary will follow from that.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:18 pm   /  Reply

      Yes — knowledge of His presence makes all the difference.

  18. June 25, 2012, 3:11 pm   /  Reply

    How scary, Beth. I pray you remain safe. And I love how your heart seeks to learn and share in the meantime. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:18 pm   /  Reply

      I still have lots to learn, Sarah.
      😉

  19. June 25, 2012, 3:16 pm   /  Reply

    This is a wonderful, timely post, Beth. You’ve been heavy on my heart, as have all our friends in the potential path of the fire. But I love and appreciate how you (and Scoti, too) captured the meaning of safety. God promises protection and refuge, but that does not mean we escape the danger – and sometimes we experience a measure of loss. Only by His peace and promises of restoration and hope can we find the strength to continue. Praying protection and blessings over you, dear friend.

    • Beth Vogt
      June 25, 2012, 5:18 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you, Shelley, for the prayers and encouragement.

  20. June 25, 2012, 5:35 pm   /  Reply

    My dad grew up in Gaza. Yes, *that* Gaza. His family were Christians. But that meant nothing.
    He left there nearly 50 years ago.
    He still has nightmares.
    For a long time, he and his buddy tried to hook him the buddy’s sons with me and my sister.
    It would have been an interesting wedding, since the buddy and his sons would have wanted their rabbi there. And a chuppa.
    Do you see where this is going?
    Dad NEVER ONCE saw anyone as anything other than a child of God.
    Out of his IN-security, love and compassion flows to everyone he meets. Grace and dignity are words constantly used to describe a man who could have easily followed a different path.
    My father’s Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
    Dad’s security is Jesus.
    Dad learned the hard way that nothing else will stand.

    I hope the rains come and the fires go out.

  21. June 25, 2012, 9:06 pm   /  Reply

    We were there on Saturday. We’re praying for you guys and the firefighters.

  22. June 25, 2012, 9:08 pm   /  Reply

    Beth, I’ll be praying for your safety! While you are dealing with wildfires, Florida is dealing with flooding from Tropical Storm Debby. Crazy how two parts of the same country are so vastly different; yet, God holds it all in His hands. Praying the rain move towards you!

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