We live in a world full of unspeakable sorrow and cruel injustice. Sometimes the waves of hardship seem unrelenting—smacking you into another chaotic swirl before you have time to catch your breath. This constant battering leaves anyone tired and disenchanted, if not deeply wounded.

Those who hope in Jesus are not immune to these feelings. In 2 Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes to his “beloved child” in Christ from the depths of a Roman jail shortly before his death. Personal experiences with betrayal, abandonment, and persecution penned hundreds of years ago by this messenger of the gospel help us understand that even the believer experiences pain in this life.

A few weeks ago I spoke with a woman in anguish. She walked me through her life, tearfully recounting various trials she endured. As I sat beside her listening with empathy, she suddenly looked up and asked with piercing earnestness, “Is God unsafe?”

As I pondered the woman’s question, the conversation between Mr. Beaver and Susan in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. played in my mind.

Upon discovering that Aslan, the ruler of Narnia, is a lion, Susan asks Mr. Beaver if he is safe for her to meet. Mr. Beaver responds, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King.”

This sentiment is not Scripture. But this excerpt does help us understand a theme throughout the Bible: our God is holy. And there is genuine danger in not taking seriously the holiness of God.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve were able to dwell peacefully in the presence of God until their disobedience broke their relationship with the earth, with one another, and with the Lord (Genesis 3:1-24). God’s wrath towards sin was evident in the curse he bestowed to those who offended His holiness.

God’s wrath towards sin is seen in numerous passages in the Old and New Testaments, manifesting in judgment (Rev. 20:11-15, Rom. 2:1-5) and death (2 Sam. 6:5-7, John 8:24, Rom. 6:23). The Lord is the King of kings—the one deserving of all reverence and the one in whose presence all must bow in worship. Certainly, this King is not safe.

Yet as I sat beside my friend whose heart ached with the weariness of this world, I was reminded of this remarkable truth: God provides refuge to those in Him. While we were dead in our sin and deserving of judgment, God the Father graciously saves us from His wrath and offers us life through the work of God the Son (Eph. 2:5). As faithful preacher Charles Spurgeon says:

“Behold the divine justice gleaming [in the death of Jesus], for God wakens his sword that he may sheath it in the heart of the great Shepherd, and that the sheep may escape its keen edge. See there the love of God, who spared not his own Son. See all the divine attributes marvellously blended on the Cross in the bleeding person of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father.”[1]

For those in Christ who are battered and bruised—who have been betrayed by the world and feel unprotected by God—I must tell you: God is safe. God is safe in the sense that He is trustworthy. He is safe in the sense that He is your protector. Your safety in God was secured when Christ bore the wrath of God on the cross in your place (Isaiah 53:4-6).

People who are victims of abuse can open the Psalms on sleepless nights and find unparalleled solace in the promises of a God who protects them (Psalm 4:8). Children who are adopted may rest in the knowledge that their Heavenly Father holds them securely in his arms (Psalm 121). Those without an earthly home may find belonging in the family of God with a Father who cares for them.

Even when Christ bids us come and die, there is comfort in His promise, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt 16:25). Though following Jesus is not a safe calling, He is the only true place of safety.

If you find yourself watching ashes of the life you once longed for drift pass you on the wind, remember your security in the Rock upon which you stand (1 Cor. 10:4). When you doubt the Lord is keeping you, remember with the Apostle Paul and daily preach to your soul: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim 4:18).

Oh, what a glorious day that will be! When “night will be no more” and we “will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be [our] light,” radiating glory for all eternity (Rev. 22:5). What once would have undone us will, in Christ, become our light and dwelling place. We will dwell in eternal and complete safety, united with Jesus forevermore.

[1] The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Vol. 61, pg. 6