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