Daily Archives: November 6, 2004

When Playing It Safe Can Be a Dangerous Thing

“Every novelist and playwright knows that the heart of drama is tension.” – Athol Dickson, The Gospel According to Moses

Trying to understand the balance between protecting ourselves or others from being hurt and being so overprotective as to stifle the opportunity for personal growth can be hard to detect sometimes. When it is best to let someone learn a lesson the hard way? Then when is taking this attitude considered cruel and unusual punishment?

As I have been evalutating ministry lately, I am asking tough questions about people wanting to make things so safe and sanitized that they remove every opportunity for transformation. Problems, pain and trials provide effective learning experiences. Are we too concerned about not offending someone? When is offending someone, the right thing to do? Modern Christianity puts a value on things that work well and produces results. When is the last time you heard a testimony that did not finish with a happy ending?

People love to quote Romans 8:28 that all things work together for good for those who love God. While this statement is in the Bible, many do not understand the verse in context. Look at the whole verse and pay attention to the verse coming right after it.

Romans 8:28-29 (KJV)

28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

All things do indeed work together for the good. Notice that this applies to those who love God and are called according to his purpose. The fine print causes me to stop and ask a few questions. What is God’s purpose? Look to the next verse for the answer.

God’s purpose is to conform you to the image of his Son. We are to be like and look like Jesus. And God accomplished His purposes in Jesus through sacrifice, persecution and death. Isaiah prophesied that it was God’s pleasure to crush His Son. How is that good? Is God’s idea of good different from what most people think of? Sure, God sees any one event in the light of eternity. We tend to look at life from however we feel at the moment.

When God says that all things work together for God, He is basically saying that He can use anything to refine our desires and character. This seems a far cry from playing it safe. Actually, serving God may just be the most one edge dangerous existence possible. Are you game?

Present Reality

Michael Card, my favorite musician, wrote a song called, “Know You in the Now.” It describes the struggle to know God in a world focused on what we can discover with our senses. The song unmasks the idolatry that has crept into modern Christianity. I listened to the song again today for the first time in a long time. I was struck by its raw simplicty and power.

Why does it seem to hard to know God in our present reality? God is not a character in a story book. God is active in the world today. He holds all things together and gives us each new day. Why has knowing God been relegated to religion, ceremony and obligation?

Where is the joy in knowing God? Here are the words to the song. May they impact you ask much as they have me.

Know You in the Know by Michael Card

Echo of history, a light so many strain to see

The One we talk so much about, but rarely ever live it out

Could You tell me why, was it for this You came and died?

A once a week observance, when we coldly mouth Your words


Lord I long to see, Your presence in reality

But I don’t know how, let me know You in the now

We should confess, we lose You in our busyness

We’ve made You in our image, so our faith’s idolatry

Lord, deliver me, break my heart so I can see

All the ways You dwell in us, that You’re alive in me