Place of Safety

Do you ever feel as if you are freefalling? As if you’ve tumbled off a ledge, flailing your arms, completely out of control, knowing you will soon crash?

Many of us are feeling that right now, every day. Feeling out of control, fearful, wondering how far down the ground is and what will happen when we hit it.

Yes, we’re believers. Yes, we trust God and know He promises to protect us. The Bible is full of reassurances that “those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1 NLT). But sometimes the upheaval we are experiencing now—COVID, the escalation of racial injustice, hateful divisiveness, and economic instability—makes us feel as if we are freefalling.

Back in 1933, construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge, but the builders ran into a problem and lagged far behind schedule. The problem was the dangerous condition they were face with. Workers were slipping and falling to their deaths, and, because of that, they were fearful, and progress slowed to a crawl.

In order to finish on time, the construction company decided to invest $130,000 in a large net—a costly investment. The net was hung under the bridge and would catch anyone that fell. When the workers saw the net was a lifesaver, they worked faster and with confidence, and the bridge was actually completed before the deadline. After the net was installed, nineteen men had slipped and landed in the net, but their lives were saved.

That net was a great investment. It not only saved lives, it made the workers feel safe. They could trust the net, even if sometimes they couldn’t see it below them. They knew it was there, it was secure, and it would hold them if they fell.

While that was great news, here’s a sad fact: the Golden Gate Bridge is the top suicide location in the world.

History.com tells this story:
In August 1937, three months after the Golden Gate Bridge opened, H. B. Wobber strolled the span alongside a tourist he had just met on a bus. Wobber suddenly turned to his companion and said, “This is where I get off. I’m going to jump.” Despite the tourist’s attempt to stop him, Wobber threw himself over the side. Four seconds later he hit the surface of San Francisco Bay at seventy-five miles per hour and became the first of more than 1,600 people to commit suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. That’s an average of one person less than every three weeks. There are eleven crisis-counseling telephones on the bridge that connect to trained suicide-prevention counselors, and a net under the span as a suicide deterrent is hoped to be completed by 2021.
Comprising 385,000 square feet of marine-grade stainless steel—the equivalent of seven football fields—this net will protrude twenty feet from the public walkway but remain camouflaged. This net is estimated to cost $211 million, and many feel it’s worth the cost.

But providing a net to keep people from jumping off a bridge isn’t the solution to the pain of this life. It’s an immediate stopgap measure, but it doesn’t address the true problem people are suffering from: a lack of a relationship with a trustworthy, faithful God who loves them and wants nothing more than to protect them.

With what does God protect us? With his promises.
Psalm 91:4 says: “His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” The Bible is overflowing with God’s promises. Promises to never leave or forsake us. Promises to be with us until the end of the age. Promises to hedge us in from the front and the back with his protective hand upon us (Psalm 139:5).

Even though we have God’s Word shining a light to our path, to keep us from stumbling (Psalm 119:105), in our lives as believers, we often slip. We sometimes fall. We say and do things that are sinful, whether we mean to or not. And God knows this. He knows how hard, how dangerous it is, to navigate through the rough winds and seas of our lives. He knows how unsteady our footing is. We often feel guilty for our failings, and that throws us into freefall—along with all the external winds battering us as we try to stand firm.

We can be encouraged by this promise of God: “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Psalm 37:23–24 NLT).

We have something better than a phone linking us to a crisis counselor. We have 24/7 access to our Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace, who gives us His peace. Peace that isn’t the superficial and transitory kind the world gives (John 14:27). As Pastor Tony often says: “God is as close as a whispered prayer.” We don’t need to memorize prayers or speak with flowery prose. Just one word is sufficient with God when you are in crisis: “Help!”

There may be many times when you feel that you are falling—freefalling without a net.
But God has provided you with something better than a physical safety net—something that is much more costly than the $130,000 net the bridge builders hung under the Golden Gate Bridge. Something more valuable than the proposed net to be permanently built under the bridge for $211 million. The safety net God has provided cost the life of His Son.

Jesus didn’t slip and fall to His death. His death wasn’t an accident. He chose to go to the cross to save you and me, to be our net, our place of safety, so we can feel safe for eternity, no matter what evil winds are blowing around us.

Psalm 91:14–16 (NLT) God says: “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

Throughout the pages of the Bible, we are reassured that God will rescue us! He knows we need rescuing—from sin, from this crazy world, from unseen enemies, from these evil times, and even from ourselves.

Whenever you feel as if you are freefalling, remember that we serve a faithful God! “There is no one like the God of Israel,” Moses reminded his people. “He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you” (Deuteronomy 33: 26–27 NLT).

Imagine God riding across the heavens to help you. Imagine those everlasting arms holding you up and catching you every single time you slip and fall. Be comforted to know that because He is the eternal God, His arms will never give out, and He will never let go of you.

Written by Susanne Lakin 

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