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The meaning of “safe.”

Read an article yesterday that a missionary wife & mama I admire reposted on Facebook. It was written by Rachel Pieh Jones, another missionary wife & mama, on what it means to be safe.  Her response to those who ask, “But are you safe?”

Was Jonah safe in the belly of the whale? Was Daniel safe in the lion’s den? Was Paul safe as he faced the arena? Was Jesus safe as he carried the cross to Golgotha?

Absolutely not.

Jonah was being digested, his skin burned, eyes blinded by acid and utter darkness. Daniel was about to be devoured by beasts, and Paul too, torn limb from limb. Jesus was marching toward certain torture and death.

But were they safe?

Absolutely.

Jonah was right where God wanted him to be. Daniel was right where God wanted him to be. Paul was right where God wanted him to be. Jesus was right where God wanted him to be. They were all surrounded completely by the tender hands of a loving Father who had a plan. The plan would end in miraculous survival for Jonah and Daniel, in death for Paul, and in death and resurrection for Jesus. And all of them were safe. If safe means being where God wanted them to be. And if, when we say safe, we mean filled with the hope of eternity and resurrection no matter what happens in this life.

We are never promised freedom from pain, danger, or suffering. But we are promised that we will be held when walking through the valley of the shadow of death. And that is what safe means. This isn’t easy. So many times I wish it meant something else – no grief, no tears, no loss or heartbreak. But I don’t get to decide and so I will lean into those strong, wise hands and cry and pray and trust that He knows what is safe for me and the people I love.

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