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Many people feel the need for protection, and nowhere do we see this more plainly than in our homes. There is a saying, ‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’, and castles were not only seen as magnificent abodes fit for royalty, they were seen as impregnable fortresses, able to withstand the battering rams of the enemy. A castle had fortified towers; any who hid within were safe and secure. This imagery was often used to describe God as a mighty fortress, a tower of refuge (Ps 46:7, 11; Prov 18:10).
In our modern homes, our security devices look very different: five lever mortice deadlocks, bolts, fences, gates, burglar alarms, CCTV cameras. But their purpose is the same: to keep enemies at bay and to keep us safe.
Life is, undoubtedly, hazardous. Risks abound, and we like to retreat to our homes to feel safe from the storms of life. We ‘hunker down‘; we pull up the drawbridge, so to speak, and retreat to safety.
Yet the home is probably one of the most hazardous places there is! RoSPA tell us ‘nearly half of fatal accidents takes place in the home, with millions more people ending up in A&E after being seriously hurt in their house, garden or driveway.’ Fires (whether caused by smoking, cooking, drying clothes over or near the fire or electrical faults, for example), tripping and falling, garden accidents and so on account for many a trip to hospital.
Even worse, for some people, the relationships in the home can lead to emotional or physical harm; during lockdown, it has been reported that the strain of living in such close proximity has to led to a 49% increase in calls to a national domestic abuse helpline. (Source: BBC News)
How, then, can we ensure our safety without becoming paranoid? Risk will always be a fact of life: how can we live in security and peace when faced with so many ‘dangers, toils and snares’, as John Newton put it?
The Bible offers us the double security of being hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3:3)
Jesus made it plain that the life of a disciple will have troubles, but also said, ‘I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one will snatch them out of my hand.’ (John 10:28) He went on, ‘My Father, who has given them to me, is greather than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.’ (John 10:29)
The Christian life is not flimsy, fragile or frail. It is robust, able to withstand every storm of life (including pandemics!) We have the double security of being in Christ and in the Father. That’s better than even the best security system!