A gunman kills a woman in a church parking lot and then enters the church building wounding even more. It may cause us to ask the question: where’s safe? It is a question I have thought about since watching the Twin Towers fall on live television. It’s a question prompted by natural disasters, accidents, and disease.
One thing I have reminded myself is that I still live in a relatively safe world. I walk the streets of my neighborhood without fear. The article “Crime in Context” noted: “a recent study posited that 5 percent of city blocks account for 50 percent of the crime. That is why most Americans believe crime is worse, while significantly fewer believe it is worse where they live.”* I still live in relative safety.
I recently sat across from a doctor and received the news: I don’t have cancer. It would be an understatement to say I felt relief. However, I still must be followed by a hematologist because my test results are irregular though currently free of disease, and I could face the opposite news someday. God has not promised me health. I know that disease does not discriminate and fall only on bad people. My prayers and the prayers of others may not always be answered in the way we would prefer. I’ve known too many good people with terrible diseases.
Disease, accidents, natural disasters, and crime are all a part of the world in which we live. Bad things happen in our world because sin entered it. Bad things happen to good people as well as bad, just as the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Paradise was lost, and humankind has been living with the consequences ever since. So, where’s safe?
Safe is not a place in this world. I or someone I know could be in the wrong place at the wrong time when disaster strikes. But I will not live my life in fear of what may or may not happen. A truly safe place won’t arrive until the age to come. In this world, the answer to where’s safe is found in a relationship. Safe is in Christ.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37–39, ESV)
So, what do we do as we await the safe place? We do what Christians have always done. We help the needy and hurting. We share the good news which brings light and healing to a dark and broken world. We walk by faith. In Christ is the answer to the question: where’s safe?