Sunday, March 23, 2003

But You Promised Security!

We are living in times of incredible insecurity. The war, the economy, the terrorist threats. What in the world shall we do?

Truth is all times are times of incredible insecurity. Just ask the mom and dad who lost a child, the woman who lost her job, the man who lost his pension, the teen who lost his friends at school, who is surrounded by profanity and violence, the lady who lost her health, the grown children who watched their once strong dad lose his memory. There are no warranties on life – what seems to be secure today can be ripped from us in the next moment.

In times of incredible insecurity, what in the world shall we do?

Searching for security in this world is like trying to climb to the top of a tree. Using toilet paper. Go ahead, try it. Get that Charmin and scramble up the old oak tree in the back yard. It will may look good, even have nice flower prints and stamped in patterns on it. Problem is, it won’t work. The first tug and it’s shreds. You could even use multiple layers of the stuff to make it stronger. Still won’t work. No matter how hard or long or effectively you try, you’re not going to make it to the first branch, let alone the top. The soft, gentle replacement for Sears catalogues was never meant to provide a means to go upward.

Try climbing up and grabbing security in your todays and tomorrows. Go ahead, grab the promises of the culture that pledge to provide safety. Some might look good, even have bells and whistles. Might even appear to work for a while. But they won’t really. Everything in this world was never meant to provide security. So why do we keep trying? Mostly because it’s what everyone else does and what seems the thing to do. It even feels like we have security sometimes.

Problem is that it is a fake, pseudo security – a false sense that lulls us into believing that we are secure until some loss (child, parent, job, pension, friends, health, memory) blasts our pseudo security to bits. Then, for a while, we realize the insecurity of life and live differently. For a while. Eventually we PICK UP THOSE BITS of water soluble tissue paper, glue them back together, pretend they’re perfect and live in false security again. Why? To keep ourselves from going CRAZY! (Sorry, didn’t mean to yell.) Unless we have something to cling to for security, we will dive into the emotional tank. So we choose something rather than nothing, ignoring the only true source of security. Yet in those quiet moments of complete frankness, when we are honest with our hearts, we realize we are lying to ourselves to avoid the intense feelings of uncertainty

Stephen lived in a time of incredible insecurity. Threats of attack, loss of jobs, financial markets in turmoil, morals at an all time low. Sound hauntingly familiar? Yet he discovered complete security. No toilet paper tree climbing for this boy. Steve was part of the First Jerusalem community church and had been occupied with the presence of the Holy Spirit. He took to serving others in the controversial ministry of Gentile/Jewish food distribution. The man astoundingly lived with confident security in the midst of the same opposition that killed Jesus. Though Steve experienced fear, fear didn’t matter because his security was in Christ. Somehow he struck up a conversation with the local religious leaders. The crowd grew until he found himself in the middle of a full blown debate with the chief reigiosos of the city. Boldly, he told the truth, offending the authorities. Being religious examples, they maturely handled the disagreement by dragging Steve out of the city and rocking him with real, very hard rocks. His confident security never wavered. Just before he died, his face shone and he saw Jesus at the right hand of the Father. More rocks and Stephen was eternally secure in the arms of Jesus.

Where does real, lasting, solid, heavy-duty rope, security come from? Through Jesus, revealed and embraced in our lives, while we are living smack dab in the middle of a world that is upside down. It does not come from the removal from circumstances that can drive insecurity right through our hearts, but it comes while we are in the tornado of those circumstances.

Of course that doesn’t make any sense to most of the world. We often hold on to that which we can see, even if it is as frail as toilet paper, rather than depend on that which we cannot see, even if it is the Strength of the Universe. Instead we gather possessions, grab at positions, grasp for relationships to provide us with security. They all end up looking like Charmin. Usually when we’re lying flat on our back, staring up at the tree we tried to climb with a handful of toilet paper in our grasp. WHAT ARE WE THINKING? Nothing lasts but Jesus.

The more we look for security in the world, the farther we drift from God. The farther we get from God, the more we look for security in this world. What a vicious circle.

Now, I’m going to guess that you’re living in the same world I am. Just a guess. It is an incredibly insecure place. It’s not going to get better. When it appears to do so, remember it is a temporary reprieve from insecurity, not security itself. What in the world shall we do?

The life of confident security comes as we let go of our death grip on this world and climb into the arms of our loving, security-giving, Heavenly Father. It is not complicated, but it is hard. And worth it. Like Stephen, we can experience security in a very insecure world. Will you?

Open your hand, let go of all you’re depending on for security and fall into the arms of God. Right now. C’mon, you can do it. Makes a whole lot more sense than clinging to the Charmin.

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." Psalm 20:7 (NIV)

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done." Matthew 16:24-27 (NIV)

"The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him," Nahum 1:7 (NIV)

""Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going."" John 14:1-4 (NIV)

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