Safe. Such a little word. We know what it means in baseball and in banks. When we use it to describe our sense of presence, it strongly implies physical safety. It is a little like security, but a bit closer to peace. Safe.
David Foster and Carol Bayer Sager have written a beautiful, special song, “The Prayer“, which captures the meaning and importance of a spiritual presence, which, by its very nature, is part and parcel of being “safe”:
I pray you’ll be our eyes,
and watch us where we go
And help us to be wise,
in times when we don’t know
Let this be our prayer,
when we lose our way
Lead us to a place,
guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.
That song speaks to us of our insecurity and our need to believe and trust God. To believe that God is in charge, that He loves us, and more, He leads us. In subtle ways, in real ways, in ways that we are unaware. Those everyday “little miracles”, those “coincidences”, that cause us to marvel, “how did that happen?” The lucky chance. The unexpected smile. The times we felt blessed by the beauty of nature, of a seascape, of mountains, of flowers, or the giggle of a small child, or, simply, the spontaneous love of family. How did that happen?
“The Prayer” opens us to special ways to consider our Higher Power. “I pray you’ll be our eyes and watch us where we go…” Genesis 28:15 tells us “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…” What would it mean to see through the eyes of God? What would we see that at present we miss, or choose to ignore? Would we see ways to love others? Would we see the needs of our neighbor that motivates us to reach out? Seeing as God sees, not just with our eyes but also with our heart. How would that bless us, how would that change the way we live? Would we see the real peace that comes with faith? Would we see, with assurance, that with God we are, indeed, safe?
Knowing that God is watching over us, how would we live our lives? Would what we do, think or say stand up to that kind of “watchfulness”? But wait, this is God I am talking about, this is my Higher Power, this is the One that I pray will “watch us where I go”. I want that presence, that “watchfulness”. So, what about my life, what would I change under the watchful eye of God? Often the change seems invisible to us, but noticed by those closest to us. That is what happened to me early in my faith journey. So many things had changed that I was not even aware of until one of my children asked “what happened…you are so different”. Perhaps, so much at peace? So safe?
“Help us to be wise…when we don’t know.” Do we believe that with His help we could make good choices or better choices or wise choices, even in the face of confusion, chaos, and conflicting voices? Choices that are right, even if they are unpopular? James 5:1 provides an answer: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” How would this change our lives? How would such wisdom and confidence change the way we live each day? Indeed, wisdom has power, and God-given wisdom has a special purpose. Has the “help” come when, with confidence, we make choices and stand by them with strength and purpose?
“Guide us with your Grace“. Grace? What is Grace? Grace is God’s unmerited favor. Grace is the “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it”. It’s free! Oh, yes, we want that. Guide us Lord, though we do not deserve it. Guide us by the grace of your presence (even though we have not earned it), as we go our way. Guide us with your wisdom, with your eyes, and with your grace, Lord. Teach us, Lord, to walk hand in hand with You.
“To a place where we’ll be safe“. What is that place? Where is that place? We all look for it. Where is it? It’s right here, right here in the center of our being, right with you, God. Right in your hands. That is where “safe” is. That is where peace is. That is where we encounter our reason for life.
Yes, it is a beautiful song, but one must look beyond the words and the music to the real meaning. I pray that I will always seek the real meaning.
For what it’s worth.