Water escape, eh? Not much of a plan. Guess he will have to find another way out of the Garden.

How terrible to discover that a place we consider a refuge is no longer safe, be it our home, church, school, neighborhood park, or most recently, movie theater. Whether or not we have been directly or indirectly affected by negative events in locations such as these, the feeling of being violated and threatened is very real. It’s an overwhelming sense of grief mixed with horror. “How dare someone step in to our comfort zone and rip it asunder!”

The cynical part of me always flinches when I walk into an establishment that bears a bright yellow sticker on the window declaring that it is a “Safe Place”. How can they guarantee something like that? No amount of security, video monitoring, metal detectors, or preliminary screening can predict what any one person will do at any point in time under the wrong circumstances.

What must Adam and Eve have felt like when their eyes were opened? Sure they were ashamed of their nakedness, but nakedness also leaves us exposed and vulnerable. Were they suddenly aware of sharp fangs, jagged claws, pointy spines, and rough, scratchy things? Could they smell poison and venom and bacteria? Did they have B.O.?

I am afraid of a lot of things I won’t go into right now. I’m sure the list has increased as I’ve gotten older. Experiences, injuries, accidents, and an over-active imagination have made me increasingly paranoid. I am more and more aware of my mortality and fragility of life. This extends now to my children in very evident ways. No matter how much we try to protect them, baby-proof the house, confine them, and nurture them, they are inevitably going to get hurt, physically and emotionally. Our oldest starts Kindergarten this week, and though he will only be a block away, I fear for him. Have we taught him what he needs to know? Will he get in trouble? Will he make friends? Will he excel in his studies? Will he pick up bad habits? Will he be safe?

Over and over in the Psalms we see David calling out to God for deliverance from his enemies. That guy was always in the middle of dangerous situations during a brutal and violent time of Israel’s history. He was often scared. But we also see him frequently praising God for His mercy and grace; His love and righteousness; His blessings and justice. David’s hope for safety was in the Lord alone. Even though it doesn’t always feel like it, His arms are the only safe place we have.

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” – Psalm 31:24