Monday, September 21, 2009

being safe and secure

Jesus, Savior, pilot me over life's tempestuous sea.

I remember singing that on furloughs when I was young. I loved the strong imagery and the music. Just the idea of being out at sea with tons of blue-wet music bashing the hull, thunder and lightening adding to the danger, caught my imagination. I wanted to risk everything for Jesus. I wanted to cross onto the wild side and pay the ultimate price.

Elisabeth Elliot's missionary remark makes me laugh, but inside I'm nodding: "Missionaries don't go, they go forth. Missionaries don't walk, they tread the burning sands. Missionaries don't die, they lay down their lives." That's right, I think: I want to go forth and tread those sands and lay down my life. Many of my heroes did that. I want to be like them.

But missions are changing, and it makes me sad. Missions are worried about the cost of service on the servants. They want to look out for the health and welfare of the missionaries: keep them safe. Why? Isn't their Heavenly Father capable?

It's called member care. It sounds very good. It sounds reasonable. Sensible. Safe. Our society is definitely into security. You find it in airports all the way to how complicated it is to open an aspirin bottle or packaged food item. We have safety belts and safety nets for everyone. We have vaccines and pills for almost any eventuality. I cannot drive anywhere without being reminded that flu shots are available now, 24 hours. Fear seems to be the overriding factor. Fear for safety.

I didn't grow up thinking like that and it feels strange. When my mission changes policy and protocol "to provide better member care" I wonder if that isn't what the Body is supposed to be doing. As I feel the bombardment of precautionary measures in every area: food, health, traffic, education, even recreation, I feel alien.

My safety has been catapulted way out of proportion to my call. We have brothers and sisters imprisoned, tortured, dying of starvation, infected by appalling conditions . . . how can I listen to my society's mantra of security? What makes me think it is more important than serving my spiritual family who happen to live on another continent?

After looking, I don't find any promises for security from the Lord. The closest one to "secure" is "Lo, I am with you always." That one does it for me. But there is nothing about health, education, housing, food, no guarantees. In fact, I find promises that sound more like: "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world."

Unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treacherous shoal . . .

Now I struggle with trying to extricate myself from the security net so I can hear His voice and follow Him.

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