Security is Simple

Security. Everybody wants it, yet it so often eludes us. We want secure relationships. We want financial security. We want our belongings safe from theft and damage. So we buy insurance to protect our stuff. We buy life insurance to protect our families. We continually improve ourselves in the hope of job security. And we do much more than that.

Of course, there's only so much one can do. Life does not come with guarantees. Part of being a well-adjusted person involves dealing with the uncertainty that, despite all reasonable precautions, things can still go wrong. This simple observation drives most people toward some kind of faith, to tide them over when things go wrong, which they inevitably do.

Also, people need to believe in justice. They need to know that after things go wrong, the scales will be balanced, either in this life or in the next. This hope and trust in justice, in a just God if you will, allows us to cope with the fact that Life Is Unfair.

Furthermore, wisdom tells us to expect some injustice, pain, suffering and loss during our time on earth, but we may also expect to be made whole in the end. That is God's job. He is the ultimate arbiter of justice, and so we try very hard to put our trust in Him. We do this even when it seems like He is really not paying attention. He confounds us with the amazing complexity of balancing out the scales of justice over time. We cannot comprehend how He can possibly do this, but faith tells us to trust that He can.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9

This entire process of trusting God and the difficulty of apprehending His feedback is precisely what makes faith so difficult for people to hold onto. Trusting God absolutely requires humility because you must be able to tolerate not knowing when and how it all gets worked out. You must bear injustice and sorrow with patience. If you can't do this, if you can't trust that you will be treated fairly by God, it can be very tempting to take matters into one's own hands.

Just to be sure one is not getting screwed. Just in case God really doesn't exist.

But the minute we do that, we cut ourselves off from feedback. We must be facing God to have any hope of catching a sign whether or not we're on the right track. If we turn away, we lose sight of Him. And if God is good and just, does it not follow that the minute we turn away from goodness and justice, we shall lose sight of Him? Just look around.

This is the nut of the matter: Do you follow your own will or do you try to follow God's will? The entire content of a relationship with God revolves around this mystery of understanding what His will might be and then willing ourselves to like it, whether we actually like it or not, because we have cultivated enough trust in Him to believe that He knows what He is doing, and at the same time we have enough humility to realize that we do not know what He is doing. We barely know what we're doing. And we're good with all of that, or as good as we can muster in our weakness, misery and confusion, and therein lies grace.

So, yes, I'm getting a little into contemplative theology here, but I do have a point to make. The main point is that people who don't really trust God will be the most willful people on earth. They substitute their own will for His because they either don't believe He's there or they don't believe He's good and just, which is the same as not believing in Him at all.

In a word, the very willful are insecure. Their deep and profound insecurity drives them to constantly pursue their own will. They can never be comfortable enough, no matter what others do or say to assure them. There's no faith inside to sustain them through the uncertainty. They want guarantees, rock-solid foolproof guarantees from other human beings, but there's no such thing. So they do whatever they can to make the world guarantee them....dammit...that They Will Be Secure. No Matter What.

And it will never work. It will never be enough to make them feel secure because security doesn't come from the outside, it comes from the inside. Nobody can give it to you. You have to get it from God. Directly. All by yourself. This is the truth.

But then you have to believe in Him, and you have to trust Him, and you have to turn toward goodness and justice, and it all gets very complicated very quickly.

Except it really isn't.

We struggle with God and with security to the same extent that our will is at cross-purposes to His. When we align our will with His will, the struggle ceases. Note that God doesn't make the adjustment, we do. We decide to want the same thing He wants, whatever that may be. He doesn't come around to seeing our point of view, and we don't expect that because we have humility. We are not God, and we don't claim to understand His plans. We simply turn our actions toward goodness and justice and trust that He will make it all work out in the end.

Then we feel secure. It's simple. Not necessarily easy, but definitely simple.

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