Laurie, my friend for more than four decades and my only bridesmaid who wasn’t a family member, easily tucks into the rhythm of my life when we’re together.
She sat with me in Max Porter’s last week, holding a hot drink in one hand and sweeping the air with the other as we caught up on our families’ news. Laurie is a missionary to Uganda, and our discussion led us to her personal safety when she’s away.
At one point I harped on a conclusion I’d made from Scripture, that the apostles never prayed for God to keep them safe.
We remembered that in their letters they asked their readers to pray they would be bold in their speaking about Jesus, but never that they’d stay safe. They gave accounts of harrowing experiences as they traveled and preached, and seemed to expect risks with the job.
My presumption was, if the apostles didn’t ask God for safety, then neither should we.
How could I have been so smug, presuming I knew everything the early followers of Jesus brought before God?
Their teachings and prayers, like those of Jesus, centered on historical scriptures. Here’s an ancient psalm that asks God for safety.
Psalm 16:1, 8-9 ESV
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. (italics mine)
My heart, my whole being, rejoices because he is always with me, he is my refuge, I will not be shaken, and he will not abandon me.
The truth is, safety is important. Without it, my friend and I would live in constant fear. The need for security drives us in our seeking and following of God and his ways, into his place of refuge where there is peace and safety no matter where we are on this planet.