Sunday, August 19, 2007

Called to be Safe?

After working a crazy long week, you would think that I would be too tired to think during the 11:30 PM drive home on the last day. But apparently not as my mind was busy thinking about an innocent comment Angie made on Thursday. She mentioned that as a woman, her husband and father have suggested that she shouldn't pick up hitch-hikers. Very safe, wise advice that I completely agree with. Yet something began working in my spirit. If I were to move into the city in two years or so, I know that there would be certain sections that I would avoid, that Dad would strongely advise I avoid. Nothing wrong with that. Some sections of the city are not safe. But why aren't they safe? Drugs, alcohol, violence . . .
So as a Christian girl, I don't pick up hitch-hikers because it's not safe. I won't move into a South Prince Street neighborhood because it's not safe. And as Angie told the story: she didn't pick up a hitch-hiker on her way to church, but the 18-wheeler behind her did. She then drove past church so that the hitch-hiker wouldn't get a bad impression of Christians. This is a dangerous world we live in. And as a girl, I don't always feel safe. Half of the times that I do feel safe, it's probably from naivety.
This is a dangerous world. But is it any more dangerous than say a hundred years ago, or two thousand years ago? I don't think so. God did not call us to reach out to people when it's "safe". To live where it is "safe". To do things as long as they are "safe". Why are certain areas of the city not safe? Broadly, because Jesus is not there, or not there in a large way. Such places are not going to be safe, until Christians step outside of the "safe" areas and spread Jesus around. How can they be safe if Jesus is not there? How can Jesus be there if they do not know? How can they know unless someone tells them? And how can a Christian tell them, unless he is with them?
Along the same lines, I got to thinking about the missions trips I've taken. Every time, as white American girls, we have been cautioned to not go anywhere without a guy. I understand the reason for this, don't get me wrong. And I feel so much safer when I'm with a guy I know in those countries. But . . .
I think of Amy Carmichael, a white British girl going to India alone. In her day that would be at least the equivalent of me going to India alone. I'm sure she did not often have a British man with her when she went to market or into the Hindu temples. Or Gladys Aylward in China. Another white British girl. She even walked into a jail of raving, murdering men with machetes at the request of the warden. Talk about safe!
Now I won't be picking up hitch-hikers anytime soon. And I probably will never moved to South Prince Street. But we are called to live in the world, a dangerous world it may be. People have died and been killed living in this dangerous world. But we are called to live where others won't live, to love those others won't love, to go where others won't go, to say what others won't say.
We are told to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. Maybe we need to learn some God-wisdom and get a little dangerous. Maybe I need to learn some God-wisdom and get a little dangerous.

1 comment:

brae said...

O goodness. Just kidding. When I was in Africa or when I went it was naievity that made me feel like I was safe. Or that I was going to besafe. But I do remember this one time I was walking with God (I was praying) And in the past week the peremeter that was "safe" for us decreased wih the knowledge that the local village had kidnapped the kids a few years ago. But I knew I needed the space and time it would take so I took that route and prayed. I knew I was safe. I was praying. God was walking with me. Anywho thats just my story. I love ya.