Feel the sense of DANGER
I remember a business lesson that I learned in my university time, that a famous business-owner in a business circle (I forget the name) instilled a sense of crisis in his company to make sure the company kept on growing. He created a sense of danger even though the company was doing fine and was growing smoothly.
Why did he have to do that? Did it make sense? He said when your company started to feel to be in a comfort zone, the whole company mechanism started to slow down and decline will follow. So he instilled a sense of crisis even long before a crisis would happen.
A good and peaceful time is really a blessing that we need to give thanks to God but peaceful times have its own danger that we sometimes are unaware of. An old time idiom: “Don’t be fooled by the still waters, there may be crocodiles inside” reminds us that literally in nature crocs like to lie down unmoved like a piece of old wood floating around, waiting to prey for its victim. It seems to be a peaceful and perfect day for picnics, so the innocent victim sometimes unwarily sing Psalm 23 “He leads me to the still waters” only to find out that it leads to the croc’s jaw.
Another illustration. Make your guess: where do accidents happen the most?
In a junction (real road junction, not Junction 8 or Bishan Junction)
In a turning
in a roundabout
in a straight road
Most people will think it is in a junction. But when I took my driving lesson, I was startled to learn that according to statistics accidents happened the most in a straight road. The trainer explained to me that normally drivers approaching junction, turning, and roundabout will be more cautious and prepared to take action. But not so during the long straight road. Straight road can be deceiving; it’s so easy that you let down your alertness and when something unexpected really happens, accident is unavoidable. Drivers get into accident in the straight road not because they are bad/reckless drivers but simply because they are not cautious enough.
That statistics taught me two lessons:
First: The most dangerous place is the safest indeed, a Chinese idiom said. There was a story where someone (let’s just call him A) traveled together with a thief (and we call him T) without realizing that T was a thief. A traveled with a great amount of gold while T was waiting for the perfect time to snatch it from A. The night was coming and they found a house to stay but A had to go for something urgent and would only be back in the next morning but A couldn’t bring all the gold with him since it would be dangerous to do so. So before A left the place where they were staying, A said to T that he already put the gold in the safest place he could think of in the house. As soon as A left the house, T immediately started a hunt for the gold, he searched high and low the whole night just to find nothing. And the next morning, exhausted and has given up looking for the gold, T was going to sleep instead… but A suddenly returned. So T straight away jumped to his bed and pretended that he just woke up to a good morning. A walked over to his bed and opened T’s Bag below the bed and took out the gold from it. T searched high and low the whole house just to find out that the safest place in the house was his own bag. The safest place might be the most dangerous spot.
Secondly: Sometimes the most peaceful time is the most dangerous moment. Ask King David and he would agree. In 2 Samuel 11:1 we read, “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war David sent Joab out …. But David remained in Jerusalem.” David did not go to war, maybe to enjoy the sping time season … but as he walked around on the roof of the palace, he did not only see falling leaves, but also Bathsheba’s clothes falling down. King David had slain his thousands in many battles, but lost to one woman in another kind of battle.
We all know that we feel closer to God when we are sick or on the brink of bankruptcy, rather than when we are healthy and have everything we wish for. When we feel we are in the pinnacle of our success, we are very close to the edge of the cliff. One more step and we may fall down to the abyss. When you think your prayer life is OK, when you think your spiritual life runs smoothly, do not ever lay down our defense because the devil roams about like a lion. The devil can creep in immediately. Our old sinning habit can attack us just in time we feel it is the last thing to disrupt our defense.
I still remember a sermon by my pastor, Rev. Budy Setiawan on how to keep growing in good times, I still dearly remember his sermon because he addressed something that is often missed out, i.e. how to keep growing not only in bad times but also in good times.
It is wise to instill a sense of crisis when we are in peaceful moments. We have to constantly be aware of the danger that awaits us in the seemingly times of peace. Why? Because we are in the battle of all ages. We are not in heaven yet. Those soldiers who lay down their helmets and spears thinking there won’t be enemies around, will be the most prone to danger and death.
Will our constant awareness that we are in a battlefield make us paranoid? Yes, if we do not have God beside us. That’s the difference between the paranoid servant of Elisha and the calm Elisha, when they knew that an enemy’s armies with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. The servant responded frantically, “Oh my Lord what shall we do?” Elisha calmly replied, “Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And for the complete story you can refer to 2 Kings 6:1-23. Our constant conscience of the danger will give us a feeling of worry but our constant awareness that God is there for us will give us a sense of security and comfort. Praise be to God.
Feel the sense of danger and just like a small kid who will naturally run to his father for protection, we too can run to our heavenly Father for protection and comfort. In this battle of all ages, we are not the experienced soldier who knows how to battle on our own, we can go to the battle line just because we know our Great General is with us and we know that the battle is already won and will be won for sure.
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- April 2, 2006 / 08:10
- Christian living