I’m leaving with a team for Guadalajara, Mexico at 12 am Saturday morning. (Yes, less than 2 days away, and no, I’m not done packing) I’ve heard all about the shootings, the barricades, and drug dealing. I know Mexico isn’t the safest place to travel to. But I also know that bad stuff can happen anywhere, even in small towns.
I’m sick of hearing the phrase, “Be safe.” I know the people saying this have good intentions and caring hearts. But it bothers me. It makes me wonder what we think of God, of ourselves, and our mission in this world.
There’s this quote by Erwin McManus that has rocked my socks and really challenged my way of thinking.
“I lament that it has become an accepted part of pop theology that the safest place to be is in the center of the will of God… Whatever the motivation, the result has brought more damage than good.
The center of God’s will is not a safe place, but the most dangerous place in the world. To live outside God’s will puts us in danger, but to live in His will makes us dangerous. God moves with intentionality and power. When we begin to seize our divine moments, we do not begin to live risk-free, but instead become free to risk.
Erwin McManus, Chasing Daylight (page 151)”
I don’t want to live in a bubble of safety and comfort. I don’t want to live a life of fear. I don’t want to pray for safety. Because when I start praying for this, I start thinking about myself. I quit thinking about the whole purpose of the trip. And I get preoccupied with self-preservation. I forget that God is my Refuge, my Protector, and my Shepherd.
The reason I’m going to Mexico, and the reason I live, is to give glory to my Creator and Savior. My life isn’t centered on what is easiest or most ideal for me. If being beaten, imprisoned, kidnapped, or even killed brings more glory to God, then so be it. I don’t pray for difficult trials, nor do I pray for things to be easy. I pray for wisdom, strength, patience, and humility. I pray for God to be honored and glorified. And above all, I pray for God’s will to be done. The kingdom of heaven is coming to earth, and I’m invited to be part of it. I don’t get to determine where, when, or for how long. I am privileged to join in on what God is doing around the world. I am confident my life is better in His hands, than my own. Because of this, I have freedom to risk for the sake of the Gospel.
So I’ll finish packing. I’ll say goodbye to friends and family. I’ll board the airplane. And I’ll fly to Mexico. I will stay with the team, and I’ll make intelligent decisions.
And as you pray, please don’t pray for safety. Pray with me for God’s will to be done however He sees fit.
And if I die, I get to see Jesus before you. 🙂