Archives for posts with tag: safety

Why is my life filled with so much pain and struggle? What have I done wrong to deserve this? If I just had enough faith, this would not have happened! These and other comments reflect a misunderstanding of faith and life.

There are people who believe that faith in God will prevent tragedy and adversity. They espouse the understanding that God watches over God’s people and will shield them from all harm. They have scripture on their side and they quote verses like 2 Samuel 22:3 “My God is my rock—I take refuge in him!— he’s my shield and my salvation’s strength, my place of safety and my shelter.” Or “God is a shield for all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30).

There are many more similar expressions of confidence that God looks out for God’s own- and I believe them too. But we have to consider the whole of the Bible and not just select verses.

The Bible contains many strong assertions that God will protect and prevent people of faith from suffering disaster. There are many examples where that is dramatically demonstrated and the faith of God’s followers is affirmed. Stories in the Bible and history contain details of people who trusted God and were spared. The Hebrew Children is an excellent example. King Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into a fiery furnace but they were rescued without even the hair on their head being burned.

Trust God and everything will be alright! But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego understood the possibility that they would not be spared. With that awareness they said, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us… But even if he does not…we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).

The story of Job is an interesting one. In spite of the fact that he had lost many of the things that were important, he refused to stop trusting God. He said, “Even if God killed me, I’d keep on hoping.” What about the Apostle Paul. It has been said that he is second only to Jesus as the most important person in the origins of Christianity and he certainly did not have an easy life.

Ok, so faith does not always prevent adversity but God will deliver those who put their trust in Him. Right? Yes but perhaps not exactly as we would wish.

Chapter 11 of The Book of Hebrews chronicles the exploits of many “heroes of faith.” Their mighty and miraculous deeds are listed and the writer suggests there are too many such people and stories to mention them all. But the record shows that there were others who were tortured, imprisoned, stoned, and persecuted in ways too horrible to mention. “Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised” (Heb. 11:39-40 MSG).

“When disaster strikes, or calamity becomes the norm, there is no human logic that can explain all of the questions, ‘Why?’  There are things that, quite frankly, seem to make no sense at all.  Much of our human suffering appears arbitrary and senseless…One day every person faces eternity through death; better to believe in God through His son Jesus, and at least have the assurance of eternal life.  The trials of this life are temporary, even though they may seem to drag on forever.  Faith becomes the reality and evidence of what eternity will one day make vivid and real.”**

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, “ For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NRSV).

It is important to maintain faith in a loving and powerful God Almighty. To believe that all things are possible if you believe. At the same time one must realize that faith does not guarantee a victorious outcome in this earthly life. The words to a song by Mercy Me captures what I am trying to say.

I know You’re able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand. But even if You don’t my hope is You alone.

They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain. Good thing. A little faith is all I have right now. But God, when You choose To leave mountains unmovable give me the strength to be able to sing it is well with my soul.”

Regardless of circumstances the important thing is to come to the end of this earthly journey and be able to say, “I have finished my course. I have fought a good fight. I have kept the faith.” Then you can be assured that you will receive God’s approval and the prize will be worth the journey (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Jamie Jenkins
*”Even If” by MercyMe- writers: Bart Millard, Ben Glover, Crystal Lewis, David Garcia, Tim Timmons

**Why Should I Believe In A God Who Doesn’t Seem To Help? by Craig Blumel

 

 

If you have ever visited the Alps in Europe, I do not have to tell you that they are spectacularly beautiful. You have been overwhelmed by the majestic heights of the mountains and the lush valleys. A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in the Austrian Alps and was awed by the splendor of God’s creation.tyrolean: Beautiful alpine landscape with green meadows, alpine cottages and mountain peaks, Zillertal Alps, Austria Stock Photo

Innsbruck, with a population of 130,000, is the capital city of Tyrol in western Austria. This internationally renowned winter sports center hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics.

© Tirol Werbung/Verena Kathrein

The Bergisel Ski Jump Stadium in Innsbruck has been used in the two Olympic Winter Games and is the venue of countless international competitions attracting spectators from all over the world. The main tower of the ski jump accommodates a restaurant, viewing terrace and the ski jump starting ramp and offers a breathtaking view of Innsbruck.

Innsbruck Bergisel Ski Jump, © TVB Innsbruck

I stood at the foot of the ski jump and watched a skier speeding down the slope and then soaring through the air. It was a thing of beauty but I thought to myself, “that could be dangerous.”

Later I traveled to the Stubia Valley about 15 miles from Innsbruck. The peaks that surround the valley rise to a height of about 10,000 feet. Five glaciers covering 5.8 square miles form a large glacier ski area, the Stubai Glacier. I ascended by cable car to the top of the mountain where hundreds of persons began their downhill trek on skis. It was an amazing sight but I thought to myself “that could be dangerous.”

Paragliding Neustift Stubaital The Rococo in Neustift in Tyrol is the second largest village church.  The interior surprises with its magnificent features.

Paragliding Mountain Penalty - photo Apartment-Neustift village pub - photo - Holiday village pub-

At the bottom of the Stubai Glacier is the beautiful Tyrolean village of Neustift with 4500 inhabitants nestled in this broad valley that is one of the most scenic in Tyrol. There is a large flat green space in the village that serves as the landing spot for people who paraglide from the surrounding mountains. I stood nearby and watched a steady stream of people drifting down from the mountains. They would land on their feet, take two or three steps, and then walk away to fold their chute. It looked like it would be exhilarating but I thought to myself “that could be dangerous.”

A couple of days after watching the skiers and the paragliders, I visited Salzburg, the fourth largest city in Austria. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has one of the best preserved city centers in the region and is renowned for the baroque architecture of the “Old Town.” Overlooking the city is a magnificent Hohensalzburg Castle. Construction of the fortress began in 1077 and it has been expanded several times over the centuries.24 Salzburg castle - Festung Hohensalzburg

Mozart's House, Geburtshaus, Salzburg.

Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I stood in front of his home, visited several of the 35 churches, and strolled along the banks of the Salzach River. In the mid‑20th century, the city was the setting for the musical play and film The Sound of Music and these sites attract many tourists.

There are a dozen bridges across the Salzach River in Salzburg but perhaps the most interesting one is a pedestrian bridge that was re-built in 2001. Hundreds  of lovers have announced their romance to the world by securing a “Love Lock” with their names engraved on it to the Makartsteg Bridge.

Locking for Love on the Makartsteg Bridge

After watching skiers and paragliders engaged in “dangerous” activities, it was in the beautiful and tranquil (safe) setting of Salzburg that I had a fall and injured my shoulder. I stepped over a two-foot wall to get one more picture of the Makartsteg Bridge. My feet slipped on wet grassy slope and down I went.

Lessons learned: Lesson #1- Almost anything is “safe” if you exercise common sense and have the proper training and equipment (i.e. skiing, paragliding). Lesson #2- Anything can be “dangerous” if you ignore the rules and fail to use common sense (Could it be that walls/barriers are there for a reason?).

In the same manner, in the Bible God has given instructions of how to live. When we ignore or violate Divine guidance, the result will be injury to the soul.

Jamie Jenkins

People who know me know that I like to travel. I often say that if you will pay my way I will go anywhere. I think that travel provides a person with a real education and a realistic view of the world.

Many people have traveled much more than I but the opportunities that have been afforded me have been plentiful. Over the past 35 years I have covered much of the United States and have made more than two dozen trips to Israel. I have been privileged to travel to 27 other countries. I have seen a lot of the world, but there is still a lot that I hope to see.

When I am about to leave on another journey instead of hearing “Bon voyage,” people most often wish me “safe travels.” I am often asked whether I am concerned for my safety. I always reply that I am more likely to encounter violence in my hometown than anywhere I will be going, including the Middle East.

Rick Steves is a travel expert who has written 30 travel books, hosts TV and radio shows, and has a thriving tour business. I agree with what he wrote in an article for the LA Times in November 2014. He said, “It seems that the most fearful people in our country are those who don’t travel and are metaphorically barricaded in America.”

Steves expressed his belief that “fear is for people who don’t get out much. These people don’t see the world firsthand, so their opinions end up being shaped by sensationalistic media coverage geared toward selling ads.”

He also suggested that the news media also contribute to the fear factor. Instead of an event being news, it’s a “crisis.” Because the 24/7 news channels have so much time to fill they “have to amp up the shrillness to make recycled news exciting enough to watch.”

This travel expert worries “If we all stayed home and built more walls and fewer bridges between us and the rest of the world, eventually we would have something to actually be fearful of.”

Travel helps you realize that we Americans are just 300 million out of 7 billion people in the world and it is good for us to engage with the other 96% of humanity. When we do we begin to realize that all people everywhere are more alike than different. Most of us have the same hopes, dreams, and concerns. As we engage people from other cultures we are more likely to have empathy for our fellow human beings and value them as brothers and sisters in this human family.

God created the cosmos and everything in it (Psalm 89:11). Thank God for sharing the wonderful creation and all its creatures with us.

Jamie Jenkins