What Is Safety?

July 18, 2002
by Margaret Vanderzweerde

Psalm 4:8 – I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (NIV)

The night was dark, as nights are in rural India after 6 p.m., and my husband and I, as guests of a bishop of the Church of North India, were travelling by car, with the bishop and his wife, back to the bishop's house. This was election time in the State of Bihar, one of the poorest in India, and the most violent, especially during election time.

Suddenly a group of masked and armed hoodlums jumped out onto the road and stopped the car. The window was rolled down, and the leader of the gang addressed the bishop, who was seated in the front. They wanted to know who these foreigners were, from which country, what we were doing there, and whether we had any money.

This was a mob of terrorists, and, sensing that a dangerous situation could develop, the bishop made a decision. He stepped out of the car, pushed the lock down, and closed the car door. He spoke to those men, much as Lot did in his day, and addressed them as his neighbours, convincing them that we posed no threat to them, and that we didn't have any gold or jewels.

Meanwhile, the bishop's wife, my husband, and I prayed for deliverance. Never before have I been so aware of God's presence. It was like the peace of the Lord enveloped us.

Looking back, I can't say how long it took for them to agree to let us go. They could have taken us for ransom, but God protected us, and we were allowed to go on our way.

That night we realized again that safety is not the absence of danger, but rather the presence of God.

Prayer: Loving and ever-present God, we thank you that, although we find ourselves in danger, we can turn to you in prayer. We know that you alone keep us safe and bring us peace. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Margaret Vanderzweerde
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

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