When we look around at the chaos of our world, our natural reaction is to try to fix it, to make it safe. We make laws and plans and procedures and punish those whom we feel to be at fault. The problem is that no amount of planning, no amount of intervention, will ever make this world safe. Even if we were to all live in private bubbles of entertainment and filter everything that came through, we would still be in danger. There is no way to protect ourselves from the world because the world lives in us as well.
The overriding fear in all this is the realization that we do not have control over any of this. We are on a ride that we cannot get off, and there’s no way to make this ride any safer. This lack of safety is not limited to the big issues of the world–shootings, hurricanes, war of now, COVID-19. As frightening as these are, the biggest fear we deal with on a day to day basis is the lack of control in our own lives. For all our gadgets, we are all trapped in a body we did not choose, at the mercy of hormones and chemical reactions. Every day, we watch this vehicle break down more and more, knowing we can’t stop where it is going.
Related Post: Choose Faith Over Fear
What is the natural reaction to this? Fear, denial, and renewed efforts to fix it. We make ourselves healthier with vitamins and supplements, safer with seat belts and laws, and better looking with creams and procedures.
But, what if the answer to this stress, to this fear, is to stop trying, and, instead, to trust.
In the movie Finding Nemo, Marlin vows to protect his son after Nemo’s mother and rest of the family are killed. Despite his best efforts, though, Nemo is lost, and Marlin spends most of the movie chasing after him while confronting his own fears. Finally, trapped inside a whale, his light-hearted companion urges Marlin to let go and trust. He has no idea whether or not letting go will send him into the whale’s stomach or not, but he finally lets go. When he does, the whale jettisons them both out into the ocean having safely delivered them where they need to go. The message of the movie is this–life isn’t safe, but you need not be afraid. However, as great a message as this may seem, it rings false unless there is Someone to trust.
The Essential Question
This becomes the essential question. The theory to trust in yourself is foolish and limited. To ignore our limitations does not make them go away. However, to recognize our smallness is the first step of humility and humility is the path to understanding wisdom. We have no choice but to look upwards for help.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1 ESV)
Where else can we look? Can we make this world so safe that no one will ever be hurt? We cannot. We cannot even control what goes on inside our own hearts. Safety is not the goal–it cannot be. The only thing we must look for now is truth.
When we seek this out over our comfort, we will find Him. We will find the One who forsook His own comfort to reach us. He took on danger and death and defeated them. In Him, we find the rest our souls have longed for. But there is a warning. He will not remove the danger of this world; we are not guaranteed ease or protection. We are instead offered Him first, and a hope that one day it will all be understood. He will unroll history–justice will be administered–and the home we are all longing for and haven’t ever known will be ours. And, then, finally, we will be gloriously safe.