― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis takes the reality of God and puts it right in front of our face. Mr. Beaver here is talking about Aslan, The Lion, in his famous book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Aslan has been interpreted as the "God" figure in the writing. And Mr. Beaver is right; Aslan nor God are safe. Like many things and as part of our human nature we have domesticated God and faith. It is in us for some reason to take something that is radical, crazy, and dangerous and find a way to make it normal, logical, and safe. The reality is that if you read the Bible from cover to cover outside our culture and find yourself compelled to follow its principles you will find yourself a dangerous menace to those around you. God's plan is not comfort nor safety. God's plan is to put yourself into His story, into His mix and allow your faith to be radically bold.
This thought came to me this week mainly due to Dr. Kent Brantly who finds himself on the other side of the world, away from his wife, two children, and extended friends and family battling for his life with a 90% deadly ebola virus. You can read his story here. I have met Kent at least once. He was a friend to many of my wife's friends at Abilene Christian University and a fellow alumni from the same university. I have been wrecked by this news since Saturday when I first learned about the story. I have been constantly praying for him, his family, and all of those who are affected by the ebola virus. I am praying for a miracle recovery until there is something else to pray.
As I was dwelling on Kent's life and his desire to go and help with a deadly outbreak that could take his life, I thought about how I could never see myself take on such a mission. I have a difficult time being uncomfortable, much less going into a situation that is life-threatening. I like my life and I know that God's promise is not that I will live to good ripe old age and die peacefully in my sleep. God's promises are eternal. It dawned on me that what Dr. Brantly is doing is not safe. What he has desired to do since before his time at ACU is dangerous and it is only a faith in God that can drive you to help those on the other side of our globe and provide medical attention and help save lives that for the most part are written off and claimed dead long before their last breath.
God doesn't promise safety. He promises that His kingdom on earth and in heaven are worth whatever trouble might come our way. I have heard many people claim that they don't care about whether they die or not, they are ready to go to heaven. It is a noble thing to desire the things above. However, some of this thinking (desiring heaven to the point of losing a desire for the world) can be simply a selfish act for your own personal salvation. God wants us to want Him and to want heaven. However, if heaven were the only point then the world would be unnecessary and tell a story about God that says he would like to see how much punishment we will take to earn the prize He has for us. It is another type of legalism. God has desires for ALL creation. Heaven and Earth! He doesn't want us to desire the things of this world, but he wants us to live out His calling and His mission while in this world. God will one day send His son back and restore ALL of creation. But until then, we are to be the restorers of the world. We are to be the ones who will take risks to spread the news about Jesus through words and actions.
I know that there is not a patient that Kent touched that did not see the face of Jesus and begin to see the love of God. When we touch the hands of the sick, when we sit down next to the homeless, when we invite the poor into our conversation, when we fight on behalf of the oppressed and marginalized we are entering holy space, where God is bringing heaven to earth.
He is not safe! But He is good!
*******PLEASE PRAY EARNESTLY FOR DR. KENT BRANTLY, HIS FAMILY, AND ALL OTHERS INFECTED WITH THE EBOLA VIRUS. PRAY FOR MIRACLE HEALINGS. DON'T GIVE UP THIS PRAYER. AND PRAY THAT WE AS CHRISTIANS WILL VALUE GOD'S MISSION OVER LIVING OUT ONLY A TAME GOSPEL**********