Safety Net

Isn’t the idea of a safety net a paradox? For to utilize it, one must first fall. When falling there is an element of danger and my safety net is what I’m putting hope in to save me, to rescue me from certain death. I watched Nik Wallenda walk across the Grand Canyon a few months ago. (Well I watched it on DVR so I could fast forward because I’m not a patient person. I also couldn’t stand the anticipation and it took him quite a while to make his way across, it’s not called the Grand Canyon for nothing.)

An excerpt from Wikipedia states: Wallenda performs without a safety net or harness. “My great-grandfather taught that safety nets offer a false sense of security,” he explains.[12] He notes that a safety net is no guarantee – an uncle was killed while performing despite falling into a safety net.

Hearing this quote on TV a few months ago really got me thinking. I don’t think I’ll ever attempt walking a tight rope, but in a more figurative sense, how can anything in my life serve as a true, reliable safety net other than God? The times in life when I’ve turned to something else for a sense of comfort and safety it hasn’t turned out so well…and believe me I’ve tried many times and it just gets messy. Today by God’s grace I’m a total wreck FOR Him, but without Him I’m just a total mess. When I put my trust and faith in anything above God, I’m stepping into a trap. The nets I go to for safety turn into a web entangling my limbs where I cannot escape on my own.

More often than not the safety nets I put in place are not bad, in and of themselves, but when they become an ultimate thing I begin placing my trust and hope in perceived safety rather than God alone. God’s plan for my life hasn’t always seemed to be the safest route, but looking back regardless of my perception at the time, its proven to be the route ONLY He could design. Ephesians 3:20 can be a reality when I do life on God’s terms not my own.

I heard this song on the radio earlier by Group 1 Crew called Dangerous. These are the lyrics to the chorus.

I want to live dangerous.
Risk it all for You, Lord.
I need You to wake me up
From the life I’ve known before.
Whatever it takes, I want You to make,
Make me more like You.
There’s nothing I won’t give up.
I want to live dangerous.
I want to live dangerous.

Kelly Minter wrote an amazing study called “No Other Gods” and the way she laid out and defined idols has forced me to look and evaluate my heart time & time again. Rather than an idol being limited only to an object on a shelf or a bad habit, she encompasses the things I place my hope in and elevate into ultimate things.  Psalm 106 tells of the Lord’s faithfulness delivering the Israelites from the hand of the enemy countless times. The verses are a reminder of God doing immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine, parting the Red Sea and causing it to cover the Egyptians. I wonder if the Egyptians considered the Red Sea a “safety net” of sorts keeping the nation of Israel trapped. You can bet they never dreamt it would be their own death. Oh how the Israelites worshiped the Lord and sang of His praises. None of their story is “safe” but it is magnificent and they were protected and provided for by the Lord himself.

But they so soon forgot what the Lord had done. Sadly I do this all the dang time too. Things began to get uncomfortable in the desert and rather than waiting on the Lord they gave into their cravings. How often have I desired safety even demanded understanding of situations, forgetting the countless occasions God has provided! Acting on emotions I desire to satisfy my cravings on my own will, and forget so soon what God has done, who He IS.

Oftentimes I just crave something familiar, something which is seemingly safe. These can vary from materialistic things, even people that could offer a sense of comfort. It has even been cravings for an emotional need of affirmation, security, love…none of these desires are bad in themselves, but when they become my safety net I’m in trouble. God desires to give me all of these things, to be my one and only. He is jealous for my affections and rightly so. My safety nets are just an illusion and typically turn out to be traps the enemy sets to detract my devotion and hope FROM the Lord…. TO a thing, idea or person.

Scary thing is God often gives me what I ask for, just as He did with the Israelites.

But they soon forgot what he had done

and did not wait for his plan to unfold.

In the desert they gave in to their craving;

in the wilderness they put God to the test.

So he gave them what they asked for,

but sent a wasting disease among them.

Psalm 106: 13-15


Although my wants seem to be a great idea at the time, they never prove to be the best option and usually prove detrimental. MY biggest fear shouldn’t be to be uncomfortable but to miss out on God’s sovereign plan for my life. May my desires line up with yours Lord. I do not want to miss you because IN your plan is my true joy. Let me live dangerous in your arms.