“Course He Isn’t Safe. But He’s Good.”

I don’t want your god of rainbows and butterflies, your god who dances in fields and makes daisy chains and takes you on picnics, or your god who always forgives, is never angry, is always gentle, and is always super positive. I don’t want your sheep, your bright ball of light, your grandfatherly figure, and your heavenly Santa Claus.

Sorry, lovely, the God of this universe is not a kindly, old, gray-haired, hippy grandfather. Yes, He romances us. Yes, He always, 100%-of-the-time, no-matter-what forgives us. Yes, He is gentle with us, even when He breaks us.

But please, please, don’t lose sight of the sword in the folds of his robe. Don’t lose sight of the fire in His eyes. Don’t forget that, when people see Him without protection, they die. Don’t forget that His angels cause warriors to fall to the ground and fear for their life. Don’t forget that this is the God who ripped His own heart out of His chest and put it on earth for us to trample on and abuse. Don’t forget that He has sacrificed everything and daily fights for us.

There are times in my life when I need the God who romances me, who paints sunsets and plants flowers, and who puts people in my life to say a gentle word, and He is always faithful to provide that. But mostly, if I’m really honest, I need the God who will stand over my curled up, incapacitated soul and fight away the darkness with His sword.

I need the God who pushes my boundaries. I need the God who chisels away painfully at my soul, working on me and convicting me to become more like Him. I need the God who is covered to His elbows in the blood of my enemies, who fights for me while I cower behind Him, who hands me a sword and pushes me into the fray when I don’t think I’m brave enough or strong enough.

I need the God who doesn’t cut me slack, who demands perfection, who is angry with a righteous anger when I walk away or hurt Him, who lets me face the consequences of my choices, and who is always waiting to take me back. I need the God who knows me better than I know myself. I need the God who molded my face with His fingers – the fingers that built up the mountains and leveled the plains and carved out the unfathomable, deep places for the oceans.

I need the God who is strong enough to carry me when I can’t walk on my own. I need the God who never tires, never sleeps, never fails, and never gives up on me. I need the God who is as desperate for me as I am for Him and will go to whatever lengths He must to win my heart and soul.

One of my most favorite quotes of all time is from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Susan is talking with Mr. Beaver about Aslan, and she says, “Is he – quite safe?” And Mr. Beaver replies, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

The God I need, the God I serve, is not safe.

To be safe, He would have to be small enough to be understood. He would have to be something I could pull into tiny pieces and figure out. He would have to be small enough for me to wrap my head around. He would have to be predictable and quantifiable.

I could never worship Him, serve Him, give my life to Him, or follow Him if He were small enough to be safe.

So, please, throw away your safe God. Throw away the thing you’ve shrunk God into. Throw away your tiny, one-dimensional view of God. Throw away the PC, kind, loving, old man floating on a cloud in the sky. Remember that the Creator of the Universe and all its intricacies could never be small enough for you, the created, to truly grasp.

But always remember that He is good.

No matter how ferocious He is, no matter how angry He gets, no matter how powerful He is, no matter how strong He is, no matter how much control He has, no matter how much you run away, no matter how jealous He is for you, and no matter how much He longs for you, He will always be good. Always.

I rest in His hand, covered by the strength of His mighty right arm. I know that His unfathomable love for me is why He protects me. I know that He will always be there to bind up my wounds and carry me to safety.

Because I know the strength of my God, I know that there is nothing He cannot face, there is nothing He will shrink from, and there is nothing that can defeat Him. I know that, because He loves me as His own child, I am cherished with both the ferocity of a warrior and the gentleness of a father. I know that I am always cared for, always loved, and always safe when I rest in the palm of His hand.

I can rest knowing that I will always be protected. I have peace knowing that I will always be delivered. I have courage knowing that I will never fight alone. I have hope knowing that He will never stop fighting to make the world right again.

My Protector, my Father, my Savior, my Lord, and my God will never abandon me, never grow tired of me, never hurt me maliciously, and never forsake me. The Destroyer of my enemies is my Great Physician. The Pillar of Fire is my Calm Waters. I am never alone. I am never forsaken. I will never be abandoned. I am safe.

I’ll take that over your puny half-god any day.

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Dear Lord and Lady Life-Giver

I’m here, and I’m safe.

I almost wasn’t here, and I wasn’t particularly safe on the ride up the mountain, but that was then. This is now.

And the ride up the mountain was insanely fun.

I almost wasn’t here because I almost didn’t get through customs.

So, you know the customs forms? The entire address wouldn’t fit on it, so I (and the people I was filling it out with) just didn’t put the whole thing on it.

When I got to the counter, the dour-looking man looked over my papers and said, “This address is not complete. Is this the whole thing? This is not right. Go over there and put the rest of it.” (His actual words.)

I was confused because the people who’d done the same thing were already through their line, but I went over and squeezed the rest of the address somewhere on  the paper.

After he finished with someone else, I took the paper back. He barely glanced at it and said, “What is this?”

“The address.”

“No, it’s not. This is not an address.”

“It’s what I was given.”

“That’s not my problem. I don’t think I can let you through.”

“Oooookay. Then I need to go talk to the leader of my group.”

He sighed at me, shook his head, and said, “Go over there.” He pointed to the woman at the counter to the left of him. “Maybe she will let you in.”

So, I walked over to her and gave her my papers. She didn’t even look at them. She just stamped them and gave me back my passport.

The group was waiting for me at the other side, and after that, things went off without a hitch.

Thank goodness.

And I wasn’t particularly safe because I was riding up the mountain in the back of a truck. Standing up.

And Haitians are not careful drivers. They’re good, but your life will flash before your eyes every five minutes or so.

I think their rules of the road are a suggestion that they all ignore.

But yeah. We were in the back of a truck that had metal sides.We started out sitting on the benches like good people, sweating up a storm in the bright sunshine. Then, we decided that we were going to ride like the Haitians do, so we all ended up standing on the benches.

It was amazing how much cooler it was!

And we got whacked in the head with branches and felt certain we were going to fall out every time we went careening around a corner.

Best. Ride. Ever.

It was only about 20 miles from the airport to the mission, but it took a little over an hour.

I’m staying in the Guest House, and it’s super awesome! There are a couple other people here too, and they all seem super nice.

The food is really good. Yes, Lord Life-Giver, it was rice, chicken, and fruit. They also make coffee by the gallon in the morning. This is my kind of place.

Anyway. Now you know I’m here and alive. We’re all really tired, so we’re just taking it easy tonight. I’ll probably go to bed early to make up for our obscenely early morning.

Love,

Me!

P.S. Lady Life-Giver, if Lord Life-Giver gets a kilt, I want bagpipes.