Safe with God: Meditation for the 4th Sunday after Easter
Our God, who raised the Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd, through whom we have life after death, is most reliable and dependable. In Him and with Him, we are safe, and there is no cause for alarm. He delivers us from evil and does not allow our enemies to devour us.
The world is most unsafe and insecure. Many fearful things happen, both in the spiritual and physical realms, which threaten and endanger our lives and meaningful existence. The situation in Nigeria is even terribly bad and virtually hopeless. Different shades of insecurity and anxiety, such as Boko Haram and killer herdsmen terrorism, kidnapping, fraud, armed robbery, witchcraft, occultism, hunger (food insecurity) and unemployment (job insecurity) are on daily increase.
We seek protection and succour here and there. But unfortunately, many of the things in which we thoughtlessly put faith have proven undependable, such that we have become fearful of putting faith in anything. This is disconcerting. However, it points us to where we should be – dependence on God alone. For only God is faithful in all things, present at all times, powerful in all places, and is the Mediator between earthly and heavenly existence. It is high time we ceased putting faith in human creations and human institutions. We should neither despair nor fear, no matter the turmoil and turbulence. We should instead, throw ourselves upon the mercy of our faithful God and know, deep in our souls, that whatever happens – known and unknown, expected or shocking, today or tomorrow – we are safe in His Hands.
Reflections on the Bible Readings for Day
The passage for the First Lesson (Num. 22:36-23:12) is about God’s interventions on behalf of the people of Israel in the unseen and spiritual war against them. Barak, the king of Moab hired a very powerful diviner (spiritualist or medium or sorcerer or witch or occultist) and sought at all cost to place a curse on the people of Israel to mesmerise, disorganise, frustrate and destroy them from the spiritual realm, possibly without their even knowing the source of their problem. But God protected them. God knows when there is a plot against those with Him. He is there when their names are mentioned at the evil altar and is able to truncate their machinations and even change the agent of their destruction to become agent of their blessing.
The Israelites were in the course of their onward progression in the direction and purpose of God for them. Moving in the purpose of God is not always smooth, since it may involve moving against the tide or powers or self or other obstacles. The Israelites experience indicates that wilderness, which is marked with difficulties and battles, is crossed before the Promised Land is reached. There are always a lot of risky challenges and dangers in our ways. But those who entrust their lives in God’s Hands will definitely see and have God’s Hands in their lives. They are safe with God, no matter the ordeals or wars or attacks whether seen or unseen, overt or covert, physical or spiritual.
The NT passage (Luke 16:19-end) is Jesus story of a rich man and Lazarus. The story was in response to the Pharisees, who considered wealth to be a proof of a person’s righteousness. Jesus startled them with this story in which a diseased beggar was rewarded and a rich man punished. The rich man’s sin was not his wealth, but his selfishness. The story shows that, ultimately, poverty, contempt, distress and disease with the friendship of God provide much more security and safety than riches, with all that the world can bestow without God. We should, therefore, not be much troubled if we meet with hardship, as we remain faithful with God here even unto death. Our “good things” must surely come, if not now, later; if not here, hereafter.
Once we are with God, we are safe.
The Venerable Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.