This week, I returned from a trip to Afghanistan. I was visiting with BGR partners, doing some training and looking at human needs projects as well as potential project areas. Many people were lifting me up as I went and I kept getting a lot of little notes and messages asking, "is it safe over there?" or "are you safe?"
I look back over the years and realize all the places that I and my family have been and how many of them have not been very "safe" from the world's standard. Yet as I reflect on those places, I have come to understand that while they were "unsafe" by many standards, they were the best place to be. Why? Because they were the places that God had directed me (and my family) to be at that particular time.
Following God's will is not necessarily "safe" from a physical perspective. I have heard some of our best friends say that we were always protected from harm because we were in the center of God's will. Well, I'm not sure that is true (the "safe" part).
Being obedient to God is not always equated with physically safety but being where God wants you to be is always the best place to be. I can think of friends from our past who were exactly where God wanted them to be and they lost their lives. While we grieve their loss, we can fully say that they were being obedient to their King and thus couldn't have been in a better place.
I am reminded of the story from the Narnia books when one of the children is walking along the beach with Aslan the Lion. Another one of the children asks a friend regarding Aslan and their sibling, "Is He (Aslan the Lion) safe?" to which the person responds, "No, Aslan is a wild Lion. He is not safe, but He is good." (My paraphrase)
I propose, then, that the best place that any of us could ever be would be to be wherever it is that God leads us to be. Wherever He leads, that is where we should go. He might take us around the world or across the street. And we cannot be sure that where He takes us will be "safe" or not. But we can be assured that wherever He takes us will be good.
In Matthew 28, after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, we find the disciples probably not feeling too safe or sure about anything. It had to be a confusing time. Despair in that their Master had been crucified yet a pregnant hope in the fact that they had witnessed Him resurrected. And in the midst of this time, the Bible tells us that...
"The 11 disciples traveled to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had directed them. And when they say Jesus, the worshipped Him..." (Matt 28:16-17) The story then goes on as Jesus gives them their purpose and marching orders to make disciples of all nations.
The best place to be? Wherever Jesus directs us to go. Is it the safest? Not necessarily but it will be good because we serve the Good Shepherd and He knows His sheep.