When I was a kid, I went down a toboggan ride with my dad and brother. I remember it clearly. We were in northern Indiana at Pokagon State Park. The air was cold, and this ramp was high and terrifying. I was shaking nervously in my snow pants as I climbed the ladder to the top of this ramp.I did not want to go, but I trusted my dad. He kept telling me that it was going to be fun and everything would be OK. That didn’t make the ride less scary, it only reassured me that I was with someone who would keep me safe. After we pushed off, I still felt the dropping feeling in my stomach. I still felt the shaking of the toboggan as it sped down the track. I still wanted to throw up. The ride didn’t feel safe to my six old year senses, but I took comfort in knowing who I was with.
This is something we must understand about life with Jesus. There is a BIG difference between who He is and the life He invites us into. And this is where we often get confused.
For some of us, when we read about Jesus being the Prince of peace and the God of all comfort, we often assume this means He will only lead us into peaceful, comfortable situations. The moment we are taken out of our comfort zone, we think this means we’ve somehow missed Him at work in our lives. When this is our view of God, we spend our days course correcting away from potentially risky situations.
But we must understand that there is no safety in what Jesus does. There is only safety in who He is.
I recently heard that thought from someone I know, and it took some time to process.
Even in the Gospels, the life of a disciple was not “safe”. It is not safe to befriend a leper or dine with tax collectors. It is not safe to walk on water or tell religious people they are wrong. It is not safe to take up your cross and follow Jesus.
But when Jesus IS our peace, our rock, our strong tower, our security, and our joy, then we are safe no matter how perilous or uncomfortable the life He calls us to.
Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
For this reason, God has no problem inviting us into new and bigger toboggan rides! He’ll take us into slums across the world, or lead us to serve the poor down the street. He might ask us to quit our jobs or give away a car. He’ll stir us to pursue our dreams, launch the site, write the book, and finish the album. With a smile on His face, He’ll welcome us into new risks because it’s all fun for Him.
It’s too easy to miss out on amazing adventures because they don’t feel “safe”. Or, you could say, they are not the easiest path to follow. But the safest place for us to be is when we are doing whatever He is doing. If He is our life, peace, and joy, then our pursuit of Him will assuredly lead us on an epic journey into risk, faith, & uncharted waters.
Make no mistake, there is an unlimited amount of peace and safety available to you. However, you will only find these in the person of Christ, not necessarily the path He leads you on.
Has this been your experience with God?
Have you missed opportunities because they might feel unsafe?