I received a phone call at 2:17 AM on a recent Friday night. Or is that Saturday morning? Either way, my neighbor’s alarm service was alerting me to a potential burglary at my neighbor’s house. Apparently, my neighbor, who is also my friend and co-worker, had listed me as a contact when he set up his security system. Oblivious in REM-cycle dreams, I didn’t get the message until Saturday morning at 8:30 AM. Perhaps my friend needs to rethink my role in his security plan.
Culturally, we’ve been thinking a lot about security lately. Security means simply “the state of being free from danger or threat.” It’s one of those things we don’t notice until it’s gone. We did not need the Department of Homeland Security until terrorists hi-jacked planes and flew them into buildings, killing thousands of our fellow American citizens. We all want to feel safe, and, right now, that feeling may seem more elusive than it used to.
Every morning, I wake up and read the headlines on a couple of news apps that I follow, and each day for nearly two years now, one topic has dominated: the COVID-19 pandemic. What are the trends? What are the latest developments? What are governments around the world doing? Have there been any new scientific breakthroughs? When can we return to normal? We want answers to these questions because we want security.
Even the political debates surrounding the pandemic reveal this hunger for security. Roughly half the country believes that COVID-19 is the biggest threat to our security, and they are willing to let the government do whatever it takes to stop it. The other half of the country believes that the government is the biggest threat to security, and they are willing to live with COVID-19 as long as the government stays in its place.
While the pandemic has been tragic in every way, it has also helpfully exposed a lot of our go-to sources of security as frauds. Do you find security in health? Here’s a new virus that no one has ever seen before that can end a life without warning. Do you find security in science? Here are three new highly successful vaccines developed in record time. But new cases keep spiking, and new variants keep emerging, in spite of our best scientific efforts. Government? Please. Economy? It’s all taken a hit.
We intuitively know that security is essential for human flourishing. Therefore, it should not surprise us to find the topic of security featured prominently in the Bible. While the central topic of the Bible is always the Triune God, God reveals himself so that human beings will know him and trust him. In other words, God intends to become our security.
This is really good news. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (Psalm 46:1-3). This source of security is unlike any other.
Unlike all other sources of security, God is wholly sovereign over everything else. He created it all. He controls it all. Nothing happens apart from his approval. Nothing can thwart his purposes.
Unlike all other sources of security, God promises to always be for his people. In Christ, he directs all his sovereign power toward the aim of benefiting his people. He will not rest until his people rest eternally in his righteous kingdom.
Unlike all other sources of security, God’s security is eternal security. COVID-19 may take your life, but it cannot thwart his eternal promises. To know God in Christ is to become invincible. This body will break down. The resurrected Christ ensures us that the next one will last forever in glory.
Next time you experience that inner angst and turmoil that comes inevitably from life in this fallen world, open the Bible to the half-way point—the Psalms—and start reading. Be reminded of the only real security that can be found. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright” (Psalm 20:7-8).