The Safe Spot
The Safe Spot – by MVC Guest Author, Cheri Williams
In the corner of my garage there’s a grey metal safe that belonged to my dad. I have memories of him kneeling on the floor, the black dial spinning under his cigar-stained fingers, the click of the handle, waiting in delicious anticipation to see what precious possession would be brought out. That safe also holds my earliest memory of God.
I was five years old when my grandma passed. Mom, a confirmed Catholic, and Dad, a devout reader of Sunday comics, explained death to me. It went something like this: “Grandma is in Heaven. When the time is right God calls us and we go.”
Anybody who knows me even a little bit probably won’t be too surprised by my response. Hands on my pre-K hips, finger wagging: “Well…I’m not going.”
Of course because my parents were my parents they already knew about my tendency to, shall we say, manage my environment (read that be a straight-from-the-cradle control freak). My parents fell back, regrouped, and in the end kept it simple telling me, “When God calls, you have to go.”
I don’t remember much from my childhood but I do remember this. I determined that if God called, I one-hundred-percent absolutely positively was. not. going. Period. Already a lifelong planner I laid out my moves. 1) God calls 2) Grab Dad* 3) Hide in safe!
I just took a trip out to my garage to make sure I’ve got my facts straight. That baby literally measures 20” by 14” by 14”. My five-year-old self would never have fit in there much less my dad too. Which brings me to today, this season of sheltering in place, of waiting, not knowing, wanting all the people I love to be safe, wondering what God’s plan is and how it’s going to pan out.
Even now, after years of being wooed, loved, and cared for by a good good God, even though I unequivocally understand that attempting to hide from Him never brings life, sometimes I’m still tempted. But I’m learning: hiding is dark. It’s hard to breathe when I hide. When we hide long enough, it’s tough to find our way back into the light. Yes, we can make plans. Yes, we can care for our people. We can even tell God we don’t understand/like/want all that’s going on (I sure do!).
But for me, in the end, the answer now is the same as it was all those years ago. Safety does not lie in small things. It does not live in darkness. It does not come from me clutching onto my ways. True safety comes when I surrender all I hold dear to the One who loves more.
Would you join me in prayer?
Dear Father in Heaven, please help us feel your presence, know your goodness, and trust that your ways are better than ours. Help us stay in the light of your truth and experience you as the refuge you are. In your Son’s holy name. Amen.
I’ve found Welcoming Prayer to be really helpful in accepting, feeling, and surrendering my fearful, controlling, hiding parts to Jesus. I highly recommend you give it a try!
Last but definitely not least, here are a few verses the Holy Spirit uses to remind me over and over that God is always with me as my protector, my refuge, and my hope.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. —Psalm 32:7 NIV
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. —Psalm 46:1 NIV
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. —Isaiah 43:2 NLT
I pray that in this hard place you will lean into God’s promises, notice unexpected blessings, and hold on to the hope that is Him. And—I can’t wait to see all your faces again!
PS: *I had long been an adult before I realized my five-year-old-self plan didn’t included “safing” my mom. Be sure to check out Chapel Soul Care for all your family of origin or sheltering in place counseling needs!