A half century ago, Martin Luther King Jr. marched with his arms locked with friends, neighbors, and strangers in the pursuit of greater unity, freedom, and liberty for the oppressed. It was a dangerous time that ultimately proved to be deadly for him. As they marched forward, their eyes held the combination of hope and fear, while their jaws clenched in the strength of forward movement. They were anything but safe. Yet, they marched.
There’s a popular C.S. Lewis quote where he says that God is not safe, but is good. As Christians have marched forward into the world in the pursuit of spiritual and physical unity, freedom, and liberty for the oppressed and the oppressors, we have tasted this dangerous level of God. There is a dangerous level of God that requires us to take up our own crosses and then follow Him. And following Him into this mission has led to Christians being mocked, beaten, imprisoned, and even violently put to death.
So is God just haphazardly throwing us in front of firing squads to “take one for the team?” And how is that good? If we look only at the danger of God, we will miss the goodness of God. So there must be a deeper level to dive. And it’s at this deeper level that we find a safety in God.
Psalm 46:1-3, 8 say,
“God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we are in trouble. So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and the mountains fall into the center of the sea. and even if its waters go wild with storm and the mountains shake with its action…Come and see the works of the Lord. He has destroyed parts of the earth. He stops wars to the end of the earth.”
I love how the Psalmist acknowledges both the danger and the safety of God. At one level, we see God shaking the earth and stopping wars in their tracks. But at a deeper level, He is our safe place.
God is a safe place because he is strong enough to change the world, yet good enough to help us. And its in this safe place that our fear fades away.
So many of the reasons I’ve been told not to explore certain questions are rooted in fear. I’m told not to consider anything other than a 6,000 year old earth because that would lead to denying the gospel and going to hell. I’m told not to question a world-wide flood because that would lead to denying the gospel and going to hell. I’m told not to question restrictions on women or even biblical guidelines for plundering women because that would lead to denying the gospel and going to hell. Fear. Fear. Fear.
But God is our safe place. So we will not be afraid.
So what do we do in the midst of such danger? What do we do in the absence of fear?
We are invited to “Come and see the works of the Lord.”
We are invited to wonder.
It’s a wonder that doesn’t have to have all the answers. It’s a wonder that doesn’t have to constantly be talking. God is okay with our questions. He is okay with us exploring the world.
He wants us to have a wonder that can be quiet and simply know that He is God.
Psalm 46:10-11 say,
“Be quiet and know that I am God. I will be honored among the nations. I will be honored in the earth. The Lord of All is with us. The God of Jacob is our strong place.”
I’m going to begin a series of articles on the path of wonder. It begins by being okay with the danger of the path by resting in the safety of God.
There is a danger in exploring. We may lose relationships. We may lose our health. We may, like Martin Luther King Jr., even lose our lives. But deeper than the danger of the body is a safety of the soul in the God who is our Help.
It’s from this place of safety that we can explore more of who God is in Creation. We can explore what it means for Him to “burn the war wagons with fire.” We can walk through the mountains and the seas. We don’t have to be afraid. He’s not going to set us on fire if we start asking questions of things that don’t make sense to us and get some of the answers wrong. He’s a loving Father who holds us through the adventure, through the danger and is working to change the world and to end all war.