A Sheltered Life

July 31, 2016 No Comments »
A Sheltered Life

By David Faust

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 3.26.19 PMHas anyone ever accused you of living a sheltered life? Critics allege, “You Christians are weak. You lean on God and use him as a crutch to help you avoid pain.” According to this line of reasoning, believers use faith to shelter ourselves from real-world problems. When life turns up the heat, we meekly retreat into our prayer closets. Skeptics suppose that faith is little more than an artificial escape to avoid the harsh realities of life.

Satan used a variation of this argument against Job. “Of course he loves you, God. You have blessed him. Take away your hedge of protection around him, and his faith will collapse like a pup tent in a windstorm.”

Realistic Faith

Now we must admit that Christians don’t always react well under pressure. But it’s ridiculous and insulting to suggest that faith automatically makes a person unrealistic and weak. History provides countless examples of believers in God who were brave, smart, and longsuffering. And besides, we all need crutches. There’s no shame in admitting that we lean on God. In times of trouble everyone needs help. Some look for solace in a whiskey bottle. Others live in denial and pretend life is a never-ending party.

God is real. The true realist is someone who takes him seriously. If a tornado is approaching, it’s smart to take refuge. David was a courageous warrior and a strong leader, but he unashamedly confessed his reliance on God’s protection. He prayed, “You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked” (Psalm 12:7).

C. S. Lewis turned the skeptics’ argument upside down. He insisted it’s actually the person who denies God who lives a sheltered life. “Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is,” he wrote. “Bad people . . . know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it.”

“In All These Things”

Consider the apostle Paul’s remarkable statement in Romans 8:37. We usually focus on the latter part of the verse: “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” But what about the beginning of the verse? “In all these things we are more than conquerors.” In what things? In all the things Paul mentioned a few verses earlier: trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword. In the midst of “all these things” we are more than conquerors. These are the words of a stark realist who chooses the hard but rewarding pathway of trusting God. Faith made Paul a conqueror—a winner, not a whiner.

Like Paul, “in all these things” we experience God’s love. Not just when all our problems are solved. Not only in those rare seasons when all is well, but even when bad things abound. Right then—especially then—“in all these things we are more than conquerors.”

Christians aren’t immune to hard realities, nor are we spiritual escape artists. We face the problems and temptations common to humanity, but in the midst of the mess we live by faith and find shelter in the haven of God’s love.

I can’t imagine a safer place to be.

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

Daily Readings

Aug. 1

M.

Psalm 12

Safe in Evil Times

Aug. 2

T.

Ezekiel 39:25-29

God’s Safety and Care

Aug. 3

W.

Proverbs 28:18-20, 26, 27

Living Safely

Aug. 4

T.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

Living Steadfastly

Aug. 5

F.

1 John 5:13, 18-21

God Is Truth

Aug. 6

S.

1 John 4:7-16

God Is Love

Aug. 7

S.

Romans 8:28-39

Safe in God’s Love

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