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Extreme Security (published in The Tribune 7/9/11)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:16 PM by Fccea Webmaster
"I'll get hit," Sara objected as Bo urged that they move to lower seats at a ballgame in Houston last July. Bo assured her, "No way. Ill catch anything coming our way."

They were barely seated when a hard foul ball was hit right at them. In fairness, Bo did stand up to catch it, but he lost it in the lights and ducked. Sara got it -- hard enough to leave the imprint of the ball's stitches on her arm.

Television interviews followed, including a trip to New York for the morning shows. Bo was tagged "Bailing Bo" for his bailout. And Sara? Well -- she and Bo are no longer an item. He failed the "protection" test.

Everybody wants security. We insure against disaster. We buckle up. We head to the doctor at the first sign of anything unusual. "Never can tell. You know what happened to Joe when he waited."

And laws! We're obsessed with protecting the innocent and the ignorant. Every time some unprecedented act of stupidity injures the perpetrator, we get a new law protecting the rest of us.

I thought we hit rock bottom when Stella Liebeck sued MacDonalds for serving hot coffee and was awarded $2.86 million in 1994. But now I see a celebrity is suing E-Trade for $100 million for a Super Bowl ad naming a "milk-aholic" baby Lindsay (the celebrity's first name). And you thought there was a law against frivolous lawsuits!

The desire for security is insatiable despite the fact that we all know there are no guarantees in this life.

Or are there? I find awesome promises in the Bible. Psalm 91:9-10 says, "Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place, the Most High, who is my refuge, no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent." Heb 13:5, "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" The list promising security and protection is long.

The qualifier? The promises are for people who have established a relationship with God through faith in Christ. They are for believers.

So, Christians can never be touched, right? Well, not exactly. Jesus promises His followers in Luke 21:17-18, "You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish." So how is it that 10 of his closest associates who had this promise later suffered martyrdom? What gives?

Well, it's an issue of our spiritual near-sightedness vs. God's 20/20 eternal perspective. We get a glimpse of it in the book of Job where we're told God put a "hedge" around this man of faith just like He promises to every believer. For His greater purposes, God lifted that hedge for a time -- albeit still with limitations of His own making.

That account illustrates that God's protection doesn't guarantee our absolute physical safety. It actually guarantees something even better. It guarantees that nothing can touch believers -- ever -- that God does not allow for our good and His glory.

Vance Havner once said, "Faith will not always get for us what we want, but it will get what God wants us to have." That's far better than a full-coverage insurance policy.

A tourist capsized his boat off Key West. He clung to the overturned boat for fear of alligators. He was relieved when a passing beachcomber assured him there had been no gators there for years. The tourist began a leisurely swim toward shore, but about half-way in he asked the old man, "Say, how'd you get rid of the gators, anyway?" "We didn't do anything," the old man said. "The sharks got em." Oh, oh!

Want real protection? It's only found in one place: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Dave McNeff is pastor of the First Congregational Church of Eaton/Ault

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