August 2014



“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

I live in a neighborhood that is pretty safe compared to most of the world. In my neighborhood the crime rate is low, and there is almost no public violence. I am always aware that many students and faculty in our UUC family live in places where the risk of violence is much higher and any sense of safety does not come from the environment in which one lives. I pray often for safety for our UUC family.

Even in my neighborhood safety is not assured, and to live with a sense of peace and security requires an inner confidence not connected to the circumstances that surround us. Having just read again the Book of Acts, I know that the followers of Jesus sometimes suffer violence. And yet according to Acts, when they did suffer violence it was with an assurance that their suffering was not in vain and that the Lord was powerfully with them. Somehow they were not demeaned and their self-identity was not diminished by what they suffered. Rather they rejoiced that they were “considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.” (Acts 5:41)  I pray for that experience of the Lord for all followers of Jesus who suffer violence for his name.

It is the Lord who makes us dwell in safety. I am sure that countless times in all of our lives we could have suffered injury or death, but were rescued by the hand of the Lord. Many times we have been close to life threatening disaster, yet often have not even notice. The Lord does watch over us. And our safety is the concern of his angels. One of the lessons I have learned far more deeply from being diagnosed with a fatal illness and then being healed of it, is that “My times are in your hands, O Lord.” (Psalm 31:15)  In my personal circumstance, I know that cancer will not determine the number of my days. I am in the Lord’s hands. “If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to (going toward) the Lord.” (Romans 14:8)  So whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Therein is our peace. That is why we can lie down in peace and dwell in safety. We are the Lord’s. No one is able to take us from his hands, and he gives us eternal life. (John10:28)

This is my prayer for everyone who reads this article, that no matter what your history of violence against you or harm done to you, and no matter what your current circumstance, whether in relative safety or in danger, may you be at peace in your inner being, for the Lord alone makes you dwell in safety.  

Please join me in praying for safety and peace for everyone in the UUC community.