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Is God Safe?

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted November 7, 2014

RELIGION – I just got back from a trip to the Great Smokey Mountains with my family. We got to see some major snow at Clingman’s Dome. They got over a foot up there and hiking through it was awesome. We also spent the night in a hotel. This was a first for my sons, who thought jumping back and forth between the two beds was the most fun ever! Through prayer and grace they landed all their jumps and we avoided a trip the Pigeon Forge ER.

Tuesday morning we went to Cade’s Cove. We hiked the Rich Mountain Loop and at the end of trek, we saw a six point buck in a field.

I got my camera out and my boys and I slowly approached the deer.  They of course wanted to catch it by the rack and kill it with their pocket knife; they talked of who would grab the rack and who would use the knife. You have to love little boys! Cooler heads prevailed and we just walked alongside this amazing creature from a few feet away.  As we came into the woods, the six point buck meet up with another 8 point buck that was insanely huge! They just chilled together and we stood by 10 feet away.  While it was awesome to be so close, it was a little strange too. While the deer up in Cade’s Cove are used to people, they are not tame. We were in their world. I have seen the YouTube videos of when deer attack. I was sort of awed but still a little afraid, even with my boys confident of their ability to wrestle one to its death! 

This made me think about God. We live in His world. He created it. He created us. He shows immense kindness and invites us to come close and near to Him. But we do God and ourselves a great disservice when we attempt to domesticate The Lord.

As I thought about my experience hiking,  I was reminded of a scene from  “The Lion, the Witch & The Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis where a conversation takes place when Susan and Lucy ask Mr. & Mrs. Beaver to tell them about Aslan, the lion in the story who is the Christ-figure.  They ask if Aslan is a man and Mr. Beaver replies:
Aslan a man? Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the woods 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’d 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 being safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

That little conversation is loaded, please get the last line, He’s good, He’s the King…but He isn’t safe. 
Jesus sums up just how radical and unsafe He is in Luke 9:23-26  And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  (24)  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.  (25)  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?  (26)  For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

So with that in mind, how can we expect Jesus to perpetually lead us towards what we would call safety? Jesus didn’t say if we wanted to follow Him that we needed get our passports ready for a leisure cruise.

If you are going to follow Jesus, you are going to upset some people (Matthew 10:34-36!)
If you are going to follow Jesus, He will bring out changes in you (Luke 19:1-10)—we cannot meet Him and stay the same!
If you are going to follow Jesus, He is going to challenge you to look straight ahead and NOT behind, no matter how good or bad it may have been (Luke 9:62!)
If you are going to follow Jesus, you are going to have to lay some things aside (Mark 1:18!)
If you are going to follow Jesus, He will IMPACT every area of your life (Romans 12:1), you cannot pick and choose your areas of surrender when you are abiding in Him.
If you are going to follow Jesus, you are going to have to surrender your wallet (Matt 6:19-24, Luke 16:10-13)
If you are going to follow Jesus, it is going to take a willingness to change the way you think (Romans 12:1-2).

If you are going to follow Jesus, it is going to move your heart to care about and reach out to people that He deeply cares for (see Matthew 28:18-20!)  I cannot say I am a follower of Christ and be unconcerned with the things that concern Him.

So, is God safe in the way that we define safety? Absolutely not, but He is awesome and His plan for your life is far greater than anything you will ever imagine if you will only trust Him and obey. Give it a shot and throw safety to wind!

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