Safe or Brave?

In Just Courage, Gary Haugen asked, “Do you want to be safe or brave?” And then ever so subtly, he asked, “What do you think God wants for you? Safety or bravery?”

These are disturbing questions if you examine them. Let me combine some of Haugen’s thoughts with some ideas of my own that have surfaced. Safety is about control. Safety is about doing life “just so” so that we can predict and determine the outcomes of our lives, our jobs, our families. The desire for safety for the Christian is like the boiling pot for the proverbial frog. It will be the spiritual death of us because it calculates and manipulates all the Life out of us.

We resign ourselves to these small endeavors that are easily managed by our own efforts and rarely tap into the need for an Almighty God. We call this spiritual success because we have planned and prepared, avoided and outmaneuvered any real threat to our well being. We are, deep sigh, safe. We pacify our hunger for more by applauding ourselves with being “responsible.”

Yet all through scripture the only place of safety is in God Himself. Do you think Jesus was calling the disciples to safety or bravery? He said simply, “Follow Me.” Was that responsible? Did they hit the safety wall while following Jesus?  You bet. But they also got to experience life beyond the grocery store and ATM. The feeding of the 5,000. The taxes in a fish’s mouth. You don’t need faith and miracles if you have everything under control.

So then is bravery a reckless abandon, without care or thought of future? Not at all. Bravery is following God where God is working and knowing that apart from God,  you cannot possibly make it happen.  Bravery is laying aside the comforts of life for the compassion of God. Bravery is dependence on God born of a desperate heart. It is the deep understanding that the attempted work is so much beyond the individual, that only God could pull it off. Yet the insanity is, being in His presence doing what only He could accomplish is beyond any man-made satisfaction. Talk about exhilarating.

You know the disciples were scared, but you also know they were blown away by what they saw and experienced of God. Sure it was hard, but our desire for “easy” is an American curse.

To make matters worse, Haugen asked, “How are  you raising your children?  To be safe or brave?” Safe in the cocoon of don’t-get-too-close-to-the-dirty-world because it might rub off? Or brave so that they are equipped and desirous of charging the gates of hell in the name of Jesus?

Assess your life. Ask hard questions and let God answer them. Do you want your lattes? Or do you want to see His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven?

“I run in the path of Your commands for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

We got trouble: right here in River City

Does anyone even remember this line from the musical, The Music Man?  All my life I have heard this when bigger-than-life problems hit closer to home than we imagined.  That’s what happened when I read last Saturday’s newspaper headline about sex trafficking.

Sex trafficking? You mean women who choose prostitution as a job? No. Sex slavery. These are predators who steal or buy children then force them to have sex with grown men up to 12-20 times a day. I’m talking 5-12 year old children.  These are predators who ship women across country borders with the promise of a better job. But in reality they steal these women’s passports, take them to places where they don’t know the language, and then beat or rape them into submission. They are sex slaves. Forced to do whatever their oppressors demand.

Now put all this horror right here in little ole Knoxville. Or Atlanta. Or Los Angeles. Or Thailand. When it is your daughter, or son, does it matter what city you live in?

I have been reading like a fiend and meeting people who are making a huge difference in this battle. Let me recommend you read: Just Courage, by Gary Haugen. He asks haunting questions when calling us out of the shadows of Christian apathy and comfort.

Do you want to be safe or brave?

We love, and are made in the image of, the God of justice. We rarely talk about Him like this, but He talks about it all the time.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8

1 million.

That’s how many children are trafficked for sex each year. That doesn’t include the helpless, defenseless women.

I want to just start the conversation. I want to ring the alarm. I want to ask you to ask God to show you what justice means in His opinion. Ask, watch and listen for His answers. Then ask Him what  He has put in you to help bring justice to the world.  If you are alive and you are free, then you have a mission.

Evil triumphs when good men and women do nothing.