Thankful for a safety line
Published 4:29 pm Friday, November 16, 2018
A lot of us have found it necessary lately to do some things that we might not have done for a long time—such as climbing ladders and working on roofs. I find that I am a lot less comfortable doing those kinds of things than I used to be; my confidence that I can safely engage in such activities has diminished as I have grown older. But sometimes we have to step outside our comfort zone and do what is required.
Someone was telling me about his son—a young and strong ex-military man—who was afraid while helping him with a roofing job. He questioned him about his fearfulness since he had dealt with much greater heights as a serviceman. The young man had a valid response: “Dad, I had a rope to hold on to then.” He had a safety line that he knew he could depend on. Having something strong and secure to trust in makes the challenges of life much more bearable and keeps fear from debilitating us.
Given the challenges that we have faced in recent weeks and continue to strive to overcome, I expect the Thanksgiving season will be more meaningful to us this year. Hopefully we will remember to be thankful for a lot of things that did not happen and grateful that things are as well as they are. Among the many things that we must give thanks for is hope–hope in God that roots out fear and fills our hearts with courage to carry on.
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I am reminded of an account in Scripture found in Acts 27 of a group of men on a ship when they encountered a fierce storm of hurricane strength. Included among them was Paul—a great preacher and writer used greatly by God. As they were battered by the winds and waves to the point of despair, verse 20 gives a description of their misery: “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved” (New International Version). Things had deteriorated to the point that they did not believe they had anything to hold on to that would enable them to make it safely through what they were facing. But the story does not end there; in fact, it concludes in a most positive way. To make it safely through, they needed encouragement, they needed hope, and God supplied that for them. But what was it that Paul found hope in that served as a safety line in the midst of the life threatening storm?
Paul found a line of safety through the voice of God. He reported in verse 23 that an angel of God had spoken to him and provided him with words of hope and comfort. There is great safety in the realization that God is concerned about all of His children so much that He personally gets involved in our circumstances. God can speak to us in whatever ways He chooses; it is our responsibility to be listening for His voice—in whatever means it comes—and obediently trusting what He says.
Paul also found safety through the acknowledgement that he belonged to God. As he informed the others aboard the ship of his encounter with the angel, he referred to his relationship with God as “Whose I am and Whom I serve.” In every encounter of life, there is absolute safety in being part of God’s family through faith in Christ and serving Him in all circumstances.
We have been through a lot lately, both individually and as a community, yet we have much to be thankful for. In our thankfulness we can hold tightly to the safety line that we have as we trust in our Lord. As we cling to Him we find hope to keep pressing on no matter how bleak things sometimes appear.