I drifted off to sleep the other night with one persistent thought floating through my mind: wouldn’t it be nice if I could whisk my family away to some safe place, hidden from the trauma and turmoil that is our modern world? I reeled through an imaginary rolodex of potential locations only to cross them off my mental list.
Some…other…country? Nowadays, the threat of terror seems to run rampant in everywhere.
A remote island? Not with the danger of tsunamis and hurricanes.
A wilderness hideout? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my.
A picture of Antarctica flashed across my computer screen as it powered up the next day. How cold does it really get there, anyhow? And would we have what it takes to survive the terrain?
I realize how unrealistic (and selfish) my ponderings are, but I wouldn’t be surprised to discover I’m in the company of millions who have such thoughts on occasion. Who wouldn’t want to escape the madness of today for somewhere more peaceful and predictable? The truth is, I learned long ago there is no such place on earth.
Even amidst Scriptures so woven with comfort and hope, we’re told that in this world we will have trouble. As a matter of fact, these verses warn that deep darkness will cover the earth before the dawning of great light. We will “hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”
Sound familiar? Even if you haven’t read the Bible, I’m sure it does…because this is now our daily reality.
If anything, I am convinced that while there is no safe place on earth, there is no safer place than in the only refuge that will withstand the ravages of evil: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
Yes, I feel afraid when I hear of all the awful things going on in the world. But I know my God is greater than my fear, and I know that one day, after my flesh has been destroyed, I will see him with my own eyes. And until then, my job is not to hide away in some obscure shelter under the false notion that I’ll be protected from harm. Instead, it’s his will that I embrace the cross and endure whatever trials come wherever I am, withstanding it all to declare, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth” in victory! For he has promised that one day “he will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things [will have] passed away.”