The first post in this mini-series looked at fullness of life, and particularly at the way God has been changing my approach to ‘being busy’ since Freddie started school. Writing the post has caused me to reflect that it’s been sad not to have Freddie with me each day any more, and every part of me has wanted to fill the time till 3pm! But it’s also been a time of refining and listening to God as I have considered new aspirations and opportunities that have come my way. It’s challenged me that often I don’t let God get a word in edgeways…. but the amazing thing is that the gentle whisper is always audible the second I bother to tune in!
Today we’re looking at another value of the new-look blog: safety. I believe that for quite a while up to the point when I started to blog again, probably since Freddie started school in fact, God had been frequently reassuring me that I am completely safe in him. Protective scriptures of security and refuge were darting through my mind like arrows: “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust”‘ (Psalm 91:2); “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves” (Zephaniah 3:17); “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). The brilliant passage from Ephesians 6 about spiritual armour had come up too. Suffice to say that by the week when I started to consider returning to blogging, I was thinking quite a lot about being safe. That week I happened to attend a day conference organised by and for women within my church. Ahead of the conference, the planning team had asked our church’s prophetic ministry team to pray and listen for Bible verses which God wanted to give to the ladies attending the conference. Specific verses for individuals were given to us in beautiful hand-made cards as we went in (more on mine in a future blog post!) but there was also a point during the day when a number of verses were read out which were felt to be relevant to more than one person. There was a verse shared at this point which I believe was for me, and it came from Isaiah 43:2: ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze’. It was also shared that the person who had heard this verse had a sense that something painful happened a while ago and had been holding the person concerned in bondage.
Now, it’s true that something painful did happen in my life a while ago, but isn’t that the case for many of us – it’s entirely possible that this word resonated with numerous people at the conference. After all, as I said in last week’s post and as John 10:10 shows, there is an enemy out there, and as Paul reminds the Ephesians we need to continually be asking God to clothe us with his spiritual armour. God uses Paul to remind the Ephesians that ‘our struggle is not against flesh and blood, against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’ This may be something helpful to consider if you feel you have got into a battle with a person, although I should stress that if you’re in physical danger from another person, professional help needs to be sought. I don’t want to diminish the seriousness of this. For me, I’m grateful to say it wasn’t a case of being in physical danger, and as I went up for prayer at this conference I did something I hadn’t fully done before – I decided that although I couldn’t change the fact that something tough happened, I wasn’t going to let it hold me in bondage any longer – I was going to claim the truth. The truth that when I pass through the waters, God will be with me. The truth that when I pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over me. The truth that when I walk through the fire, I will not be burned; the flames will not set me ablaze. The truth that I am totally safe and have nothing to fear.
And I don’t think for a moment that we need to be anxious about or ‘fixated on’ the forces of evil described in Ephesians 6 – why bother when Jesus paid the ultimate price to break the bondage of sin and darkness? Since I became a Christian a few years ago, I have been entirely secure in my identity in Jesus. I still need to be alert, I need to be armed, but Jesus has now been welcomed into my life and into my home and nothing can change that. The foundation of sand has been replaced with a firm one of rock. Interestingly, during this recent period of listening which I mentioned in the first paragraph, a course which was run at my church was very helpful and well-timed. The wise friend leading this course pointed out to me that in Revelation 2:17 Jesus promises to give his children ‘a new name… known only to the one who receives it.’ When I prayed about this, the name God gave me was ‘Safe’.
The lie: That I am not safe and should be afraid.
The truth: I am completely safe in Christ. He is with me, this ‘river’ will not sweep over me and I won’t be burned!
– Has anyone else met God in a new way following a time of darkness?
– What is your ‘new name’?!