pastor alex gee returned for our lighthouse and friends retreat this year, preaching on the topic, "the trouble with Jesus." alex looked at that idea at least three different ways, but they can all be traced back to a single root truth: Jesus isn't safe."is -- is he a man?" asked lucy.
"aslan a man?!!" said mr. beaver sternly. "certainly not. i tell you he is the king of the wood and the son of the great emperor-beyond-the-sea. don't you know who is the king of beasts? aslan is a lion, the lion, the great lion.""ooh," said susan, "i thought he was a man. is he -- quite safe? i shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."
"that you will, dearie, and make no mistake," said mrs. beaver; "if there's anyone who can appear before aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."
"then he isn't safe?" said lucy.
"safe?" said mr. beaver; "don't you hear what mrs. beaver tells you? who said anything about safe? 'course he isn't safe. but he's good. he's the king i tell you." (from c.s. lewis' the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe)
i don't know why that's news. given the many stories of God's dealings with people in the bible, whatever led us to believe that he would be? and yet year after year, i find that i bump up against that reality. i can't really say that i crave or even long for safety, but given the option, i do prefer it.
but after thirty years of following Jesus, the conclusion is inescapable: faith is not a safe thing. by its nature, faith yields to the wisdom, plan, and control of Another. when it comes to a life with God, there just isn't any other way. and given that he and i don't always see things the same way, that's never going to feel entirely safe.
thankfully, 'unsafe' is not the core descriptor of who God is. he's loving, and he's good. and following in the long tradition of those who have learned to trust in a wisdom that is higher than our own and a goodness that is better than we can imagine, i keep walking -- with humility and gratefulness.