In the days following the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York’s twin towers, everything that had been secure in our country suddenly became shaky. Peter Jennings came on TV at the end of his newscast about the collapsed buildings and said, “Talk to your children tonight, and assure them they’ll be safe.”
Nate and I had been watching the program together, and I said, “Children shouldn’t be told that, because it’s not true.”
We talked for a few minutes about the safety we do or don’t have in our country or on this earth and concluded it would be a lie to assure our children of something that isn’t a sure thing. The only guaranteed safety anywhere is in Christ, and that doesn’t include earthly safety. It’s only after death and leaving this world to live with the Lord that we can be sure no harm will come to us.
After 9/11, security measures in America were drastically heightened. Waiting in long airport lines became standard for flyers. Anyone who seemed suspect in any way was pulled aside (as Nate was here) and “wanded” or searched, but none of us minded. If it meant we’d be safer on an airplane, we were willing.
Despite added rules and more personnel watching over us, safety still wasn’t guaranteed, not for any individual and not for the citizens of New York. Just this weekend an SUV loaded with home made bombs was found parked in Times Square, the engine running and explosives set to go off momentarily. Although the bombs didn’t detonate and no lives were lost, what would keep the next angry bomb-maker from trying the same thing or worse?
A widow friend of mine told me recently of her battle with fear immediately after her husband died. She’d never spent a night alone and had difficulty sleeping for fear of a break-in. Every strange noise sent a chill up her spine. Sadly, no one can assure her that a break-in will never occur.
My own daughters, living in Chicago, walk home from work with pepper spray in hand, at-the-ready. Two blocks north of their neighborhood a pair of friends were clubbed with a baseball bat a week ago. One was critically injured and both were hospitalized after the attack by someone who did it just to steal their purses. Anything can happen.
So what are we to do about life as we know it, since we’re all forced to live in a world fraught with dangers? The only answer is to trust God for our ultimate security, which may not come until after we die. Nate, having left this world, is now 100% secure. No more airport security searches, no more dangers even possible. He’s untouchable.
In the mean time, the rest of us can install alarm systems or even hire armed guards to protect us, but who are we fooling? Bad things will continue to happen to good people. Although our bodies and our earthly lives will always be at risk in this shaky world, our souls can be secure in God’s unshakable care. Once we believe this, we can rest easy.
”In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” (Psalm 4:8)