A MESSAGE FOR THIS MONTH
“Do you have a place of safety?”
Let me tell you four stories and then return to the question.
First, many years ago when I was a boy my parents bought and welcomed
to the family a black Labrador puppy. We took possession of him when he
was just weeks old. The first time I took him out to the back lawn and gave
him some freedom he sprinted back into the kitchen – his place of safety.
Something very similar happened when father and I drove to the public
park, stopped the car in the parking area, clambered out with him and let
him off the leash. What did he do? He loped back to the car as quickly as
he could. His place of safety.
Secondly, and years later, while travelling by air back from Heathrow to
Edinburgh, I was seated on the plane beside a gentleman I didn`t know.
This was in the days when cabin staff offered free in-flight drinks and
snacks. He asked for and received four small bottles of wine which he
began to drink. He leaned across and said, almost sheepishly, “I`m going
to get drunk on this flight.” I replied, “It sounds like you don`t want to.” His
response to that was a sad one. “I don`t, but I always run back to the
wine.” Drink was his place of safety. I remember that evening because it
had a sad ending. He got drunk and in the arrivals hall at Edinburgh I saw
his wife embrace him and then push him away when she smelled his
breath. His place of safety wasn`t a safe place at all.
Story number three, from the Old Testament and the history of King David.
Read about it in 2 Samuel Ch 22. David was pursued relentlessly by
King Saul, who tried several times to kill him personally. David was king for
forty years and in a brutal tribal world of savage war he had many enemies
who wanted his crown and his kingdom at any price. They hounded him,
pursued him, trapped him but never got the better of him – (it took a woman
to do that - 2 Samuel ch 11). Towards the end of his life, the old and infirm
king praised God.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my saviour.
He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety”
King David personalised it. His God, in whom he trusted and to whom he
prayed, was his place of safety.
My final story and perhaps more of legend than of reality. St. John of New
Testament fame was a busy man. His C.V. read as follows:-
Professional fisherman with his father and brother.
Close disciple and confidant of Jesus.
Bishop of the church in Ephesus.
Refugee on the island of Patmos.
Author of five books included in our New Testament.
Did he need a place of safety? From pressure, from stress and busyness? Yes indeed. What was his place of safety? St. John, holy man and busy man, kept, bred, tended and fed pigeons! This was his place of safety.
I return to the opening question. “Do you have a place of safety?” Can I suggest we all need one. Think about it. If thus far you don`t have one, make time and a place of safety for yourself where you can renew your energy and nurture your most valuable relationships.