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How do you define safety? What is a safe place for you? A safe place has some element of predictability and consistency.
What do the following have in common?
- Trying to squeeze water from a rock
- Expecting a promotion but instead getting fired
- Laying down to go to sleep only to hear loud music
- Taking a drink anticipating water and getting vinegar instead
These all have something to do with expectations. Specifically, misplaced confidence in life situations that can never be fully reliable. But we all desire to find a source that satisfies our deepest longings. This can lead to a lot of frustration. If you are frustrated, this means you are moving in the right direction. Frustrated people are tired of what doesn’t work. They are ready for the true solution.
Our desire for love can drive us to rationalize just about any behavior. If we can’t find love the way we want it, it’s easy to turn to imitations like drugs, achievements, sex, food, or entertainment. As intolerable as being unloved is, if we lose sight of where love comes from, we will ultimately destroy our relationships.
While in the right context, none of those “imitations” are bad, they also can’t come close to the kind of safety that God provides. God made us to experience love. So when we don’t experience it, our suffering is genuine because we know something is deeply wrong. We get frustrated but we shouldn’t give up. We need to keep crying out for love, otherwise, we won’t be ready to receive it.
We can submit and surrender ourselves to anything, treating it as a source. Some sources are life-giving and some are life-stealing. Most of our sources will fail us in one way or another. They may be excellent sources with natural limits, or they may be horrible substitutes for the fullness of life. God is the only true and trustworthy source that will never run out or fail us.
There are no guarantees in life… except… God. All else might fail you, but God won’t ever fail you. This doesn’t mean that you won’t experience disappointment. God might not live up to your expectations, but because God doesn’t change, He is always reliable.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;Psalm 18:2 NLT
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
God Provides Safety Because He Protects
There might be moments when you don’t feel protected. Bad things happen. But God’s overall plan is to preserve you by saving you out of a position of defeat.
For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!Deuteronomy 20:4 NLT
God’s plan for you is victory.
God Provides Safety Because He is Powerful
There might be moments when you feel weak. Some things are impossible for you. But what is impossible for you is possible for God (if He wants it to happen). If you need saving, or whatever you need, God has the power to do it (Luke 18:27).
God Provides Safety Because He is Merciful
God isn’t waiting for your first mistake so He can unleash His wrath. His wrath is reserved for His enemies. If you are a believer, then you are no longer an enemy but you are a friend of God (Romans 5:10). God is the epitome of safety because He is patient with us.
But you, the Lord God,Psalm 86:15 CEV
are kind and merciful.
You don’t easily get angry,
and your love
can always be trusted.
If you are feeling unsafe and you can’t trust God, that could be because your expectations are at odds with God. You want to go left and God steers your life to the right. You want to go up and God steers your life down. This process is needed to remove all reliance on everything but God. You will discover that the direction life takes is the right one, when God is with you on the journey. As you increase your reliance on God, you will experience God’s safety.
If you are struggling in your marriage, could you be expecting your partner to be your source instead of God? Are you trying to be self-sufficient instead of abiding in Jesus?
If you feel let down by how your life has played out, could you be desiring fulfillment in this life apart from God? God is the ultimate source of fulfillment.
Look at what has been happening in your life recently. Do you see any indications of God leading you? If the journey has been unpleasant, could this be because God wants you to draw hope from Him instead of His creation?
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.