A Safe Place

Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Listen while you read: "Fight The Good Fight"1 (Lyrics)

At the YWAM (Youth with a Mission) base near Tijuana, Mexico, where my husband and I volunteered this winter, one of my assigned areas of service was with the Hope Zone. This ministry is situated on a narrow, undeveloped lot in a rough area of Tijuana, wedged between two crude buildings and secured by a metal fence. An armed guard attends the gate. I went every Tuesday afternoon with a group of YWAM students for family day. When the gate opens at 4 p.m., the children trickle in to play on simple playground equipment or with large outdoor toys. Others enjoy a climbing wall, a pool table, foosball, or a toy kitchen. Parents chat with each other, smiles on their faces.

After a couple of active worship songs, it's time for classes, even for parents. I helped in the art class. One day, the young gal in charge asked the children, "What is your safe place?" She was thrilled when several answered, "Hope Zone". That was one of our aims, to provide a safe place to hang out for families who live on the fringes of the red-light district. The children then illustrated their rendition of a safe place.

In his hierarchy of needs, the famous American psychologist of the last century, Abraham Maslow, proposed that feeling safe is one of our basic needs after our physiological needs like water, food, warmth, and rest are met. Everyone needs to be free of fear and to feel secure enough to be able to meet more advanced psychological needs, such as love and belonging.

This very concept was illustrated in John's gospel long before a psychologist figured it out!

John 10:9-11 – I [Jesus] am the gate; if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (CJB)

Jesus was describing a sheepfold, an enclosed area where sheep could rest and where they would be safe at night. In the sheepfold and under the shepherd's care, the sheep would have what they needed to thrive. Jesus identified Himself as the shepherd who looks after us, His sheep, and our every need.

The children and parents who come regularly to Hope Zone are building on a foundation of safety and trust. They are seeing true faith in action, as the leaders lovingly interact with them and teach them. It is in this context of care that they are coming to understand Jesus' care for them, and want to follow Him.

In our interactions with people, let's make sure that their basic needs are met before we attempt to convey the love of God.

Prayer: Lord, in our interactions with people, help us to understand that their basic needs must be met first, before they will be free to understand the love and care that the Good Shepherd has for them. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Alice Burnett <terrencera.burnett@gmail.com>
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks, Alice,

    Wise advice Alice.

    Great devotional Alice!

    Thanks for the encouraging words, Alice.

    Beautifully written truths of the Word. Thank you for sharing.

    Thanks, Alice, for your good devotion and advice. May God continue to bless you.

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. To God be the glory! Blessings.

    What are basic needs – security, food, shelter, education, health care, hope for tomorrow.

    Thank you, Alice for your very compelling devotional today and Thank You Jesus for Hope Zone.

    A very touching post, Alice. What wonderful work you and the other volunteers do. God bless!

    Thank you, Alice, for another of your interesting and very positive devotionals. Blessings for your special writings.

    Good morning, Alice,
    Thank you for your good, interesting, and appropriate words this morning.
    May you and yours have a good weekend and Sunday.

    Hi Alice,
    What a beautiful and inspiring reflection. Kudos to you and your husband for your volunteer work!
    Blessings on your week.

    I’m deeply touched by that ministry. Thank you for sharing your story of responding to the needs of families especially. Our society (Canada/US) is tending to lose the benefits of following God’s original building block for society – the family. Praise God/THANK Him, for people like you, who are willing to meet the challenges that the Lord places in our lives – the challenge of helping others. God bless.

    Mrs. Burnet,
    Thank you for your meditation which brought me to tears.
    I am from Haiti where my dad and now my sister tries, by God’s grace, to provide basic needs and the love of Christ to some of His children.
    We live in the hope and assurance that in spite of everything, Christ’s triumph will materialize over the evil that seems to reign. In Jesus’s Precious Name, we claim this. Amen.
    Thank you for your encouragement.

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