I spend time with a variety of people. My work offers connection to people of different ages, background, family, ideas, hopes, ambitions, and so on. Through this unusual fellowship I am given access to the deep things of life, experiences reaching back further than my own years, the goals, failures, and successes of children and the aged alike.
An older man was talking to me about flying for the first time. He was a young boy excited to be flying with his family. The airport was a small rectangle building with little amenity. Although he was a bit nervous, flying on a plane was thrilling. The plane was visible from the ticket counter and as his parents finished the transaction his dad stopped by a small machine. He put in .50 cents and the machine issued a $10,000 life insurance policy if the plane crashed. Enthusiasm was soon tempered by the possibility the plane was unsafe. The room seemed a bit smaller and unsure. He heard in the distance someone mention terminal and he was sure it was about him. Seeing the look of worry on his son’s face, his father bent down and comforted him, “Every trip is dangerous. We prepare best we can, but we will not miss this trip.”
After telling me about one of his earliest memories, the old man said, “I was filled with a sense of danger. But the fear of crashing was less than my fear of missing the trip, and being left behind. If my dad took me, he would keep me safe.”
Life is full of danger. There are distractions, situations, and circumstances that overwhelm us daily. Nothing is safe. But you are not alone. There are several passages that illustrate the dangers of life and the security of walking with God. 1 Timothy 4 reminds us each how to move through life preparing, growing, and maturing. “These are the things you must insist on and teach. Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity… Do not neglect the gift that is in you…” Growing and developing how we speak, our conduct, love, faith, and purity is only an option. The warning suggests you can neglect it. Although the trip may be dangerous, not going is even more frightful.
I am convinced our church, community, and world are at a crossroads. We feel there is a goal ahead but the trip seems dangerous and choosing one way or another limits our options, so we wait but time presses on. The inaction produces frustration and like being stuck in an airport, everyone else is moving nearer and nearer towards their goal while we receive more and more troubling information.
In the opening of 1 Timothy 4, Paul says, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons…” You can put your trust in the wrong information, you can get stuck, you can miss the trip. Or… Or you can trust in the Father to take you where He would have you, you can lift up the awe inspiring work of our Lord Jesus, and you can rely on the Holy Spirit to empower you. The dangers are real, but the living God is making things right. Are you going with Him?