'Do not be anxious ... let your requests be made known to God'
Safety / sāf-tē / noun
1. The condition of being safe from undergoing or causing hurt, injury, or loss
2. The action of keeping safe
There seems to be a lot of talk this year about safety. The “Stay Safe MN” slogan grinds my gears every time I see it, so I’ve been evaluating my angst about safety.
Many catchy phrases popped up in my Google “safety” search: safety doesn’t happen by accident; safety isn’t expensive, it’s priceless; when safety is first, you last; safety rules are your best tools.
Most of these slogans were promoted by employers trying to limit insurance claims and other problems at their businesses, but there are many things that we do to keep ourselves and others safe.
Babies are strapped into car seats, boaters wear life jackets, bikers sport helmets. We remove snow and ice from our sidewalks, we clean splattered bugs from our windshields, we secure the handrails on our stairs. Steel-toed boots, leather gloves, hard hats, earmuffs, and goggles are all tools of safety.
In the name of safety, my husband is required to wear high visibility clothing at his job, and we buckle up every time we get in a vehicle, (which, I might add, was instrumental in my daughter’s safety a few months ago.) Choosing safety isn’t stupid.
So why does the push to stay safe make me cringe?
First, we have to trust the item or action that provides safety. This is different for each person. Not everyone wears their seatbelt, safety glasses, or helmet. Although some safety measures are regulated by law, not everyone complies. Our confidence, or lack of, will determine our actions. It will also have consequences. King David declares in Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Where is my trust?
Second, I question if we worship safety. Safety, and security often dominate the prayers that I hear from the kids in my classroom … keep us safe on our way home, keep us safe at school, keep my friends safe, my family safe, etc. One would wonder if we live in a hostile country where our safety is in question day in and day out.
At one time, I forbade the use of the word “safe” during our prayer time so we could think beyond our physical security.
There is so much more that we could pray about. Instead of praying for safety, let’s pray for courage. “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
I believe that God is concerned with our physical wellbeing. Scripture tells us that he watches over the sparrows and flowers and knows when each hair falls from our head. But I also believe that our priority is to seek Him, not safety. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Third, do we serve a God of safety? Is following Jesus a protection guarantee? Is a life that’s free from pain our reward for faith in God?
Jesus said, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) That doesn’t sound very safe. Jesus also said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Regardless if you have had similar thoughts or different ideas regarding safety, we may all take heed from words found in Philippians chapter 4: “Rejoice in the Lord always … let your reasonableness be known to everyone… do not be anxious… let your requests be made known to God… with thanksgiving … and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”