Monday, August 15, 2016

Finding Security in an Insecure World

“Someone call Security!” Have you ever wanted to shout that? Even when you weren’t in a public place, like a store or a parking lot?

If there’s anything these days where the demand far exceeds the supply, it’s security. If Walmart or Target created a “Security” aisle and products displayed could guarantee the desired results, their stock values would soar.

From the moment we’re born to the time we die, security continues to be an important concern. Infants instinctively seek out Mommy. Toddlers rush to a parent’s side when they’re separated at the grocery store. Many tots wouldn’t consider going to bed without a favorite “blankie” or stuffed animal to make them feel safe.

Following the events of 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security was created to join other law enforcement agencies in safeguarding against terrorism. Shopping malls, schools, businesses, even churches now employ security guards. The ongoing debate over gun control legislation involves not only curbing violence but also citizens wanting guns for their own security.

This chart from shows
Abraham Maslow found security a vital need.
But security fears are hardly new. More than 70 years ago, psychologist Abraham Maslow recognized security as a foundational part of his “hierarchy of needs” pyramid. In his 1943 paper, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” Maslow ranked security and safety second in importance only to physiological needs like food, clothing and shelter. Security overshadowed other human needs such as love and belonging, self-esteem and respect, and self-actualization.

Social Security was created in 1935 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and today millions of Americans rely on it for their retirement years. Many of us maintain insurance policies to provide security for our homes, cars, loved ones when we die, and protection against disability. We can even purchase identity protection plans. Home security systems, designed to safeguard personal possessions and thwart would-be intruders, have turned into a multi-billion dollar industry.

Perhaps a perceived lack of security has even contributed to the decline of marriage. Dr. Willard Harley Jr., alluded to this in his best-selling book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage.

In counseling thousands of couples, Harley discovered the basic needs for men and women in marriage are very different. Three of the essential needs for most women, he stated, are related to security – honesty and openness; financial support, and family commitment. Why get married – or remain married – some women might reason, if men won’t provide the security they need?

Security also factors strongly in spiritual belief systems. We long to know that God’s not fickle or capricious, that our relationship with Him isn’t like pulling flower petals, “He loves me…He loves me not…He loves me…He loves me not….”

One of the basic tenets of evangelical faith is the “security of the believer,” the idea that we should be able to know that we know our relationship with God is secure, and need not harbor doubts about where we will be spending eternity. And the Scriptures offer many passages giving that assurance.

Security with God is a recurring theme in the Psalms, describing Him in terms such as a “shelter” and “my refuge and my fortress” (Psalm 91:1-2), and “a strong tower against the foe (Psalm 61:3). King David calls God “my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior (2 Samuel 22:3).

But what does God say? In the midst of a turbulent, chaotic, often disheartening world, what assurances does He provide that in Him we are indeed secure? Actually, the Lord has much to say. Here’s just a sampling:

In the Old Testament we read, The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Letting us know He hasn’t changed His mind over time, that assurance is repeated in Hebrews 13:5, when He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Can any circumstance sever followers of Jesus from an eternal relationship with Him? The Bible says no. Jesus told His disciples, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand(John 10:27-29).

And lest there be any doubt, near the end of the Old Testament, the apostle John presented this promise: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life(1 John 5:13).

Do we live in an insecure world? Yes. Do we have loved ones and friends who sometimes fail to offer the security we need? Yes. Does it often seem calamity is lurking just around the corner? Again, yes.

But in the midst of turmoil, surrounded by many things that can stir great fear and anxiety in our hearts, we can trust in the security only God can give. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).

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