“The only safe place in all of human existence is in the center of the will of God.” –Mark Ashton
Last night, the power went out in my building for about two minutes. Just long enough for me to be startled, find a flashlight, and light a couple of candles. Then just like that, it was over, the lights were back on.
As usual, my mind raced directly to the worst case scenario. It was an apolcolypse-style image, no electricity for weeks, no working phones, no gas beyond what is already in the car, you get the picture. Believe it or not, this type of reaction on my part does not indicate panic, or overreaction, or even fear. For me, this is a coping mechanism. I jump immediately to the worst case scenario, think through how I would deal with that, and then I am reassured that I can deal with whatever actually happens. I think knowing what I can do helps. For me, taking action is always a more comfortable state than waiting.
Of course, sometimes I find myself in a situation where there is nothing to be done. About a year ago, I was camping with friends and found myself in a tent in the middle of the night listening to a massive thunderstorm. Well, I think it was massive. A thunderstorm seems much more serious when the only thing between me and it is a thin layer of slightly water repellent fabric. I felt like everyone else was sleeping through it, like I was the only chicken awake, waiting to be struck by lightening or swept away in a tornado. My head said I was overreacting, but my adrenaline just kept pumping. I remembered, as I have so often in various situations, that the worst case scenario still isn’t that bad. My mantra became, “God, keep me safe or take me home. Keep me safe or take me home. Keep me safe or take me home…” That canoe trip wasn’t supposed to be a spiritual awakening. Just a fun trip, tent camping and canoing with friends. …But isn’t an experience with nature always a spiritual event?
Safe…the way we usually think of safe…is overrated. Safe is sitting still. It’s missing out. It’s keeping quiet. Safe is the most dangerous place in the world.
Sometimes, I’m really, really good at staying safe…in a bad way.
“The center of the will of God”… That’s a risky place to live. What will He ask me to do? Where will He lead me? And yet…risk is profoundly awesome. I know no other word for it. Doing the scary things, simply because I know in my innermost being it’s what I’m supposed to do, is ironically the most powerful feeling I have ever experienced.
I have free will. I have the power to choose to stay in a safe bubble with no risk, no required courage. When I do, I feel powerless.
When I destroy my bubble and give control to the One who has much bigger, better, riskier plans, I feel more powerful than one person could possibly be. You know why? Because when I live in the center of the will of God, I am more powerful than myself. It’s the safest place in the world. It is the only safe place.