December 29, 2003

The Orange Factor
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow 
that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in 
the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday 
(Tehillim / Psalms 91:5,6).

Just as the current holiday season was to begin, the 
United States raised its security alert status to 
"Orange" or high. Their sources indicated that this 
was necessary due to the heightened threat of 
terrorism. Since then we have heard such things as the 
possibility of commercial pilots being terrorists 
waiting for an attack opportunity and that terrorists 
may be ready to use weapons of mass destruction.

I imagine the reason behind the increased security is 
to provide the American people with a greater sense of 
safety. It appears that many people are willing to put 
up with the inconvenience of delays and greater 
scrutiny for the sake of safety.

But doesn't this kind of talk make you a little 
nervous? It wasn't that long ago that the only thing 
we needed to worry about regarding the person flying 
an airplane was his or her skill level now we wonder 
if he or she may be an undercover terrorist. And so 
what if the plane makes it safely to our destination. 
At any moment we might be the victim of an anthrax 
attack or nuclear bomb.

Maybe the reason why the authorities want us to know 
all this is so that the terrorists will find out that 
we know what they are up to. If they know that we 
know, then maybe they won't risk an attack, having 
lost the advantage of surprise. Doesn't that make you 
feel better? Maybe not.

The world has changed since the tragic day of 
September 11, 2001, but I don't think it is just 
because of international terrorism. It wasn't that 
long ago that most of us felt safe in our 
neighborhoods day or night. Children could walk to 
school by themselves, and no one thought anything 
about it. Not any more. It wasn't that long ago that 
people ate beef without the fear of Mad Cow disease, 
hiked in the woods without fear of West Nile, and 
traveled abroad without fear of contracting SARS. Not 
anymore.

Wisdom dictates that we take reasonable precautions. I 
think most of us are glad that airports have tightened 
security. We would also to do well to heed the advise 
of health officials regarding serious health threats. 
But no matter how cautious we are, we cannot 
completely ensure our safety in the midst of these 
dangers.

So what are we do to?

First, it would be most helpful for us to accept that 
life has always had dangers. Whether or not the 
present situation is more dangerous than other times 
is besides the point. The fact is that human beings 
are fragile creatures. It really doesn't take too much 
to harm or kill us. Most people cope with this by not 
thinking about it. One of the effects of the current 
situation is that it is making us more aware of our 
fragile state.

Still, we don't have to live in fear. There is a place 
of safety.

King David in the Bible understood danger. He spent a 
good portion of his life in fear of death, yet 
discovered that there is safety in God. David wrote 
regarding those who trust in God:

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the 
arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that 
stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that 
destroys at midday (Tehillim / Psalms 91:5,6).

"Terror, pestilence, and plague." Sounds familiar, but 
we don't have to live as potential victims, who are 
waiting to be victimized by the dangers all around us. 
There is a help and peace that we can find in God, 
that exists nowhere else.

David goes on to say,

If you make the Most High your dwelling - even 
the LORD , who is my refuge - then no harm will 
befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 
(Tehillim / Psalms 91:9,10).

Only in the God of Israel is there true safety. In 
order to know his protection we need to decide to make 
him our dwelling. We cannot live life on our own terms 
and expect to be protected from harm.

God has provided the way to himself through the 
Messiah and all he has done for us.

The American officials are correct in raising the 
security alert. We are in great danger. But King David 
is also right. There is safety and protection in God.