My son in law works in Afghanistan. My youngest daughter works in Beijing, and travels around China serving Americans in trouble. Her next assignment for the State Dept. will be in an Islamic country. Every day I pray "Keep them safe". But what is "safe"? Paul writes to the Christians at Philippi these startling words:
"because I know that your prayers and the help that comes from the Spirit of Christ Jesus will keep me safe. I honestly expect and hope I will never do anything to be ashamed of. Whether I live or die, I always want to be as brave as I am now and bring honor to Christ." Philippians 1:19Paul says he knows he will be safe, but then goes on to say "live or die I will never do anything to be ashamed of". (Play rewind sound here). In Paul's mind, being safe doesn't have anything to do with physical safety. Safety is all about doing the will of God. "I will never do anything to be ashamed of." Did someone pray that for me? I wish more people had prayed that prayer for me. I would love to say "I have never done anything to be ashamed of", but I cannot. That is the past. Now is now. Paul goes on and says "Whether I live or die, I always want to be as brave as I am now and bring honor to Christ." Wow!
Paul sounds surprised, as if he didn't know he could be this brave. The Spirit of Christ surprised him with bravery he didn't know he had. Therefore he is "safe."
Wait a minute!!! Brave & Safe: these words don't belong together. Brave usually means you are taking risks, doing something that "safe" people don't do. Brave means higher insurance premiums and parental stress. My child, stay away from brave! But if I don't live bravely I won't be safe.
"Lord, please keep me safe today. Live or die, may I bring honor to you today. Please keep Ione, Jennifer, Colleen, Ethan, Edward and Joss safe today. May they, live or die, not do anything to be ashamed of, but rather bring honor to you through their choices today. Lord, I want to live safely, safely in the center of your will. Live or die, that is the only safe place to be. Amen"