Yesterday morning, I heard a farewell message from a lovely missionary family as they prepare to return to Zambia for a Bible translation project.
During the message, they spoke of the many questions they are asked upon returning to the field:
How long is the flight?
Where do you live?
Do you have electricity?
These are all decent questions, and most curious minds would inquire similarly. However, they aren’t the most popular question these missionaries are asked.
Instead, the number one question asked is this:
Is it safe?
The answer to the question was found, not in the political climate of Zambia, or in its diversity of occupants, or in its situation within the continent of Africa, or in its abundance or lack of perceived first-world necessities.
The answer was found in John 17:11, where Jesus prayed for the Father to protect those who were given to Him.
Jesus prayed protection over His disciples. And yet, as our friend pointed out, all the disciples (save John) died martyrs’ deaths, sometimes horrific ones.
What happened? Did God not hear Jesus’ prayer? Did it fall on deaf ears?
Because when you and I – and the disciples and every other believer and martyr around this globe – die in faith, we die safe.
The Bible warns against fearing those who can kill the body. As our friend said with a smile yesterday morning, No one in this room (or reading this blog!) is going to be getting out of here alive.
We’re all going to die.
We may die naturally.
We may die from an accident.
We may die from disease.
We may die as a martyr.
The method and mode doesn’t have a bearing on our safety.
Because every believer who dies in faith, dies safe.
They go to eternal life.
To eternal joy.
To the Presence of God forever and ever.
Safety is found in being able to say with the apostle Paul,
I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.
But dying safe isn’t the only battle.
In order to die safe, we must live safe.
Not in “safe spaces” like our universities are providing for those who want to escape from the perceived judgment of others.
Not in “safe rooms” where we might run from supercell thunderstorms.
But safe in faith that never wavers.
We live in a culture that is being insidiously permeated with atheistic, agnostic, relativistic philosophy. It seeps into everything.
Even the Church.
And it can have a devastating effect on one’s faith.
What’s good for you isn’t necessarily good for me.
I believe in XYZ, but it doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.
All roads lead to heaven.
There are many different names for God.
I can’t impose my morals (beliefs) on someone else.
Follow your heart.
Be true to yourself.
And before we know it, we begin to lose faith….and our safety.
Because, friends, our safety is found behind our shield of faith that alone can extinguish the flaming philosophical darts of the enemy.
Today, on this Monday, as many return to school for the first time, and many more return the workforce for the umpteenth time, may your goal be to live safe.
Because living safe also means dying safe.
It means eternity with the Father.
Fighting the good fight.
Finishing the race.
Keeping the faith.
Your life depends on it.