When life takes a dangerous turn people do not want a Barney Fife of Mayberry version of a police department, a spineless government or friends who turn their backs on them in a time of threat or impending conflict. The right for people to live a peaceful and productive life is the desire of God for all nations. This was not a government idea it was God’s idea. God put governments in place to ensure that our peace and safety is a protected human right. Until our peace and safety are interrupted we can create illusions about the reality in which we live and begin to actually believe our illusions about what constitutes real life. Each generation not affected by the horror of war or acts of terror must grapple with this issue.
Once, I was removed from my car and held at gunpoint by rogue police officers in a third world nation. Another time I had to run a roadblock late at night on a dark mountain road in the West Indies when thieves tried to rob me. Years late in another ministry assignment, Jan and I along with other believers found ourselves surrounded by 30,000 violent demonstrators in a former Communist Bloc nation and had to be escorted to safety by the secret police. All of these and other fearful encounters I have not mentioned took place in situations when I was able to return to a nation where freedom and security are the norm. While these terrifying situations were unfolding the sweetness of liberty and safety back home became a distant and fading hope. My only real hope in those moments of terror was in God. I was out of reach of the protections granted to me in the United States but I was not out of reach of God’s protective hand.
The world has always been a perilous place for most of its inhabitants. Bad things happen to good people – all the time. The quality of our lives is always better when people and institutions are in place to protect us from evil and at times, from our naive version of reality.
When it is all said and done, every follower of Christ must ultimately trust God for their deliverance. When terror, war, and violence visit our lives the adrenal-like dose of reality that surges through our being in those dark encounters will wake us from our slumbering version of reality. In those troubling moments the peace and security that comes from knowing God will become our greater reality and our only hope. You can trust God in all things and at all times. He will never leave you or forsake you even when life takes a dangerous turn.