“Is he quite safe?”
“Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
That is a part of a conversation C. S. Lewis wrote in his book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe . It is written to make a point about God.
Tomorrow is the Day of the Ascension. We celebrate that Jesus ascended into heaven, to sit at the right hand of the throne of God; to take all power and rule all of creation; and to gather His kingdom until He comes to judge the living and the dead. Is He safe?
Ask the disciples who left behind their lives of fishing, gathering taxes, and more, in order to be sent out, scattering all over the ancient world and all but John confirm their witness through a martyr’s death. Or Abraham who left his father’s house to go to a land God would show him. Or Paul, who was confronted by Jesus, who then sent him far away to the gentiles, to bring the Gospel and suffer for the name of Jesus. Is He safe? I imagine each one would join C. S. Lewis in saying, “Who said anything about safe? … But He’s good.”
Jesus is the King. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus is seen in Daniel’s vision of “one like a son of man … given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples nations, and languages should serve Him”. (Daniel 7:13-14) All other kingdoms are swept away and His kingdom is everlasting. As the King Jesus has the right to decide that my life will go the way He decides, and not the way I thought it would. Is He safe?
Jesus calls us to follow. He tells us there is a cost. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) Is He safe? And Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Is He safe? Almost two thousand years later (still in our days) in so many places around the world Christians suffer for their faith; for the name of Jesus. And all around the world Christians say, “Who said anything about safe? But He’s good!”
What did the disciples of John the Baptist hear from Jesus when they came and asked? “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5) He’s good! Sinners had their sins forgiven. The thief on the cross had heaven opened. Mary Magdalene had her total despair taken away on Easter morning outside the tomb when when Jesus called her by name. He’s good! Lazarus got to be at the feast -- after Jesus interrupted his being dead. Thomas had his doubt and denial dispelled. Paul was turned from a persecutor to a Christian singing and praying and telling about Jesus even in the jail at Philippi. He’s good!
So here we are in the middle of all kinds of things happening. There is a virus. There are problems with jobs and keeping businesses opened. There are controversies and disagreements all around us, among our friends, and conflicts in our own thoughts and feelings. We could be asking “Is it safe?” We have no idea what is coming in the next week, month or year.
But remember what Paul wrote to his friend Timothy, from Rome while under arrest. “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) We know that Jesus our Redeemer is with us, “all the days”. (Matthew 28:20) His promises are all over in the Bible. Our sins are forgiven. We have been set free by Jesus. (John 8:31-36) And We have the righteousness of Christ as a free gift. (Romans 3:21-25) We know how everything will turn out. It's going to be glorious!
I started saying years ago, “The most important thing in any journey is who you are traveling with; all the rest is just scenery.” (That’s what we sometimes called that endless detour that seemed to lead all over the place, and then it was getting late and when would we ever get there? And then I would say how I had a wonderful and beautiful traveling companion; and maybe my wife would smile -- for a while. [Don't tell her I wrote this.])
Well, boy do we have some "scenery" right now. And when are we going to get there?
But I think back to how these meditations started. Jerod texted me, “Remember God is still in control, not corona virus.”
He still is. And “Who said anything about safe? But He’s good!"
Lord Jesus, in the middle of everything that is happening, and when I am unsure and beginning to worry, or even worse; help me. Remind me of Your constant presence. Remind me that You are Lord of Lords and King of kings, and that You are in control. Strengthen my faith as I struggle to trust. Calm my fears that I may be clear-headed. And help me to see the many daily provisions that come from You. So, dear Savior and Friend help me to grow in faith, in prayer and in the spiritual life. Amen.