What would it be like to live with the sense of trust and security of a small child?
That was the question I found myself pondering the other day as I pushed a stroller along the sidewalk. I was talking to my 11-month-old granddaughter for a walk when this question took hold in my mind. There was a broken cloud cover with just enough sun peeking through to annoy the eyes. So my granddaughter turned her head left and right and then eventually covered her eyes with her tiny arm. And that’s when the question hit. She couldn’t see where we were going. She didn’t know how far we had to go or where we needed to turn. With her arm over her eyes, she couldn’t see if we were going to run into anything.
And she wasn’t concerned in the least.
She felt completely safe and secure … so much so that no conscious thought was even given to the fact that grandpa had things under control. She just trusted.
What would it be like to live with that kind of sense of trust and security? I wondered.
It won’t last long for my granddaughter, of course. As she grows, she’ll become aware of dangers and worries. We all do. Certain ones of those show up by the time we are preschool age. During our early school years, we become aware of more worries and fears. The teen years hit, and new waves of anxiety, insecurity, and fear arise. Then the college years and early adulthood bring new concerns. And so on, throughout life.
And that sense of safety and security evidenced by my granddaughter becomes a thing of the distant past… so far gone that it’s not even a memory.
What if we could learn how to live with an overall sense of safety and security?
The well-known Christian philosopher and author, Dallas Willard, contended learning to live that way was completely possible, was, in fact, at the very heart of learning to follow Jesus. He was famous for saying that “the universe is a perfectly safe place to be.”
Wait, what? A perfectly safe place to be? But what about war and hunger and car accidents and bills and disease? And what about …
Yes, it’s true, threats and concerns are real. But Willard believed that there was a magnificent, glorious God at the center of reality, and He is completely trustworthy. Not only that, but He only intends good for us and has the power to bring that good about. And so, while there are certainly dangers and threats that come our way (Willard himself died of cancer), our ultimate safety and good is completely assured.
Can we learn to have confidence in this good God?
What would it be like to trust Him as our good Father in heaven so that we lived with a pervasive sense of safety and security? A sense that outweighed whatever fears or worries that came our way?
Perhaps my granddaughter’s complete rest and security on our walk is closer to how we’re actually meant to live. Perhaps we don’t need to know exactly where we’re going or what turns we’re supposed to take on the road ahead. Perhaps we’re meant just to trust the One who’s taking us on this walk called life.
We can know that even though we can’t see where we’re going, He knows and He’ll take care of us.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7
We can learn that no ultimate harm can come our way because even death draws us closer to our Father in heaven.
“Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8
We can have confidence that He’s writing a good story not just for our life but for the whole world, and someday all will be well and we really do live happily ever after.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
What would it be like to live with the sense of trust and security of a small child who knows she’s safe and secure in her Father’s good world?
John Whittaker is a pastor and Bible college professor. One of his greatest joys in life is being a husband, father, and grandfather. He is also the creator of Bible in Life online teaching resources at johnwhittaker.net.