My big sister called me the Safety Club.
She was the type to think fun was fun. I only thought fun was fun if it was also safe.
I always treasured safety, even as a kid. No one ever called me Brave. Detailed, yes. But not brave.
I was the kind of kid who noticed the details, who noticed all the ways the world wasn’t safe. Who noticed all the bad things that just might, could possibly happen, if we opened that box.
It was there, in those details, where my courage often went to die.
Still, I tried to align myself with safety. With safe-ish. Which didn’t always mesh well with faith in Jesus.
For obvious reasons, I’ve never enjoyed the Great Hall of Faith. Hebrews 11, anyone? In my Bible it’s titled, “Faith in Action.” But my reaction to Hebrew 11, was…No, thank you.
Pass the Faith ~ just not on the edge of a sword, please.
I wonder how many of you can relate. I’d guess I’m not the only longstanding member of the Safety Club.
Hebrews 11–and plenty of other Scripture passages–sent my red flags flying, somewhere between barely escaping the edge of the sword–and torture, imprisonment, and stoning. Also that part which states, They were sawed in two.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to put myself in those real people’s shoes, even if they did live long, long ago.
Basically, I have an adverse reaction to violence, of any kind. I’m not big on blood. Especially my own.
But earlier this week, my oldest boys wanted to talk again about ISIS.
They asked me about 21 Brave Egyptian Christians, whose faith shone at the edge of the water on a Libyan beach–whose faith endured even past edges of swords.
The truth is, I’ve always been all, I sure hope it never comes down to that for any of us.
But this time, something changed. I asked the Lord to help me stand with Him if I’m ever in those shoes.
I heard myself telling my kids, Guys, of course I don’t want to go through that, but I will leave this earth standing for Jesus, if that’s what it comes to.
Now I realize I’m just saying words.
But I’m not the kind of person who says these things lightly. I’ve not ever ONCE been the type of person who says those kind of words at all. It’s my temperament’s fault. I have to count the cost and really mean words, before I can say them.
But after 30+ years of running from the thought of persecution, of desiring deeper faith as long as it doesn’t come with any sharp edges, I realized something.
This world is really not my home.
And I’m not so scared anymore.
I hope it’s the same for you. I hope the story of these 21 brave brothers in Christ–and all the others who have gone before–inspires you to follow Jesus bravely, the way it’s inspiring me.
Instead of growing our fears, may these stories grow our faith.
They lived in this world, but they had died to it already. They had died to the world, and the world had died to them.
May we stop craving our illusions of safety, and may we hunger for heaven instead.