Alan Hirsch is a South African-born missiologist and a leading voice in the missional movement of the Christian West. In this short video he presents the idea that God is good but not safe.
This reminds me of what CS Lewis wrote in the Chronicles of Narnia. Peter, Lucy, and Susan are running from the White Witch and trying to find Mr. Tumnus. They meet Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. In the Beavers’ dam they talk about the king, Aslan.
“Is – is he a man?” asked Lucy.
Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion, the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh,” said Susan, “I thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you.”
God is indeed trustworthy and true. You can trust God.
Maybe our understanding of what it means to trust God and have faith in God needs some re-evaluation. Here are just two passages of Scripture that show you a different side of following God. Do these verses sound safe to you?
Not everyone walks out of the fiery furnace, kills a giant, or survives in a lion’s den.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11.23b-30 “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
The writer of Hebrews said this in Hebrews 11.35b-39 “Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated– the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.”
I have to ask myself if that is a God I am willing to follow. That does not sound safe, at least not in earthly terms. Am I willing to let God mess with my life like that? Honestly, that takes a lot of courage, I think.
What do you think?
More comments on the life of a Christian and the unsafe nature of God in a day or two.