Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fear and Security

Kyle likes the water in theory, but in practice he's still a little fearful. On a recent visit to our friend's above-ground pool, when I tried to bring him into the four-foot deep water, he held on to me with a vice grip. Even with his life jacket on, he still clung to me, and would not release me, preferring the security of his mom to the personal flotation device that is Coast Guard approved. In this particular situation, he decided that he felt more comfortable laying on the deck on his stomach and leaning into the pool to retrieve his and Amanda's floating toys, or throwing her diving sticks in for her. He felt completely secure in doing this, having no awareness that leaning into the pool was much more likely to land him in a situation where he could not right himself if he happened to tumble in. Amanda was in the pool, and my friend and I were right on the deck with Kyle, so he was probably safe from drowning, even if he had fallen in, but he was in no way as secure as he felt.

Feeling secure can be dangerous. Having confidence in our own abilities or resources can actually put us at risk.

Our church took a mission trip to Panama in January. When they were there, they were struck by the poverty. Most of the families who were served by the church lived in what we would consider as unacceptable conditions: no running water and no electricity (or electricity unsafely spliced in off of the line), and most families of four or more living in a "house" smaller than most of our babies' nurseries. He said that they pitied them. There is a disparity of income there, and so when they saw others driving around in their new SUVs, it didn't seem fair.

My pastor recently returned at the missionary's request to help with another group that was coming. In the last six months, the church has grown. One of the primary services to the community is a Manna feeding center which provides nutrition to the children that they might not otherwise be able to get. They also are able to share Jesus with the children, and in turn, with their families. At one of the services last week, the church was asked how many of them had come as a result of the work of Manna. Well over half of the them raised their hands. As my pastor thought about these poor families and compared them to the Panamanians with means, he was struck again: We are pitying the wrong people. Their poverty and their need brought them to Jesus.

Those driving the new cars and watching the big screen TVs do not think that they need help, and so they will not listen. They are living under false security: trusting their own means, evaluating their success in comparison to those who are not financially stable, and neglecting to consider eternal security.

As a parent, I have to keep an eye out for areas which Kyle thinks are safe when in reality they are dangerous. Ever since I first experienced his daredevil tendencies, I knew that I must pray for his safety. Even when he's under my watch, I cannot protect him from accidents. Thus far, he's avoided any harm.

I also might deem a certain friend of Amanda's safe, knowing that she comes from a "good family," but that friend might be the one to introduce her to something that could cause her great harm. We cannot simply trust appearances. We must always lean on God, who is the only one who truly knows who or what is safe.


Katrina said...

Oh this is so true. Here in our nice comfy America, many people truly don't feel the need for a Savior. That false security is dangerous for them now, and dangerous for eternity.

Great analogy to kids and their feelings of safety even when they are not.

Heather said...

Great analogy of feeling safe v. being in the safety of God's arms (which usually involved a heck of a lot of risk).

Beck said...

WOW. Great post.

Susanne said...

Excellent post, Jennifer. I was especially struck with the picture of Kyle on the edge of the pool and how you tied that in.

Stephanie said...

Beautiful writing. And such truth!

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

Great post Jennifer and so true. It is so easy to rely on our ourselves and our possessions or skills. I believe that is why Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. Thankfully, he follows that up by saying, "With God, all things are possible!" We must remember not to trust in ourselves or our possessions. Thanks for the reminder!