What if everything suddenly changes?
What if the friend, business, income, family, church or other sense of “home” you’ve relied on for so long is no longer present?
What if you can never recover from the changes?
We allow ourselves to be in a cage of our own making from a fear of what the answers may be to similar questions. People stay in bad relationships, keep horrible jobs, even refuse to leave an abusive parent, spouse, grandparent, uncle, or church because of a fear of the unknown. Many will draw on outside sources to justify our fear of what may or may not happen if the familiar environment were to no longer exist. Sometimes we’ll hide behind a mindset of optimism; sometimes one of faith. Often we’ll build our personal system of faith or beliefs around the comforts of the known. We use it to explain away the pursuit of something greater, but really it’s to insulate us and keep us safe. We excuse away in our mind the action we know should be taken in order to appease our misguided sense of duty, patriotism, loyalty, or even of love and faith.
September 10th & 11th seem so far in the distant past now. As I’m writing this, I can’t even tell you what the date is today (yes, I realize I could look at the other screen on my computer). A hurricane hit Lakeland, the city where I live, and my family has not been able to live in our home since. It’s been fairly crazy trying to figure out the last two months with three kids and two dogs. The five of us have stayed in separate locations, together in a hotel apartment, separated in two smaller hotel rooms… and now we’re preparing to move into a different house. Trying to keep some kind of sense of regularity for the kids during this process has been difficult… but… I’ve realized the kids really just care about being with their sense of stability: their parents. I’ve seen this especially in the two younger ones. As long as either mom or dad are with them at the end of the day, they know everything is fine for the night.
I think this is the kind of reliance we should have on God. We over-explain and argue over so many things in Christianity that really don’t matter. We dissect and analyze words contained in Scripture until no one has any clue what we’re really talking about. But, at the end of the day, are we content and secure knowing that our Father is with us? We fear so much about what may lie around the corner, or what may be lurking in the darkness, as a result of various decisions or actions that we’re not able to break out of a life that imprisons us.
It’s even not uncommon for Western Christians to justify not helping someone out of fear of “being taken advantage of.” It’s really the most basic tenet of the Christian faith. What we really do is use our fear of the unknown to also justify our selfishness and make ourselves sound reasonable. Jesus never offered a life of safety and security, I’d argue he presented and demonstrated the opposite. He never offered a “reasonable” life or faith. So many times we’ve built a faith that makes us feel happy and secure, rather than one that allows us to take risks. Jesus regularly sought out the most traitorous people in his society… and asked if he could hang out with them for dinner. I follow a Jesus who was not afraid of the unknown and calls us to be the same.
“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?’ 32 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.” -Matthew 6:25–33