When a Net Becomes a Nest
Type in the word "safety" these days and see what images come up! Masks. Lots of pictures featuring men, women, and children sporting masks. People sitting at a distance. Airport scanners. Some bright-vested flaggers. This is our world anymore. Attempts to defend ourselves and others from germs. From the air we all share. Where is the magic bubble when we need it?
Many of us still know about safety nets. Some of us consider an important one to be having enough money in the bank to handle an emergency. Like a serious accident. Or job loss. Financial resources may offer us a sense of security, it's true. But the market is not always steady. Supply is not guaranteed. Inflation lingers. Investments fail. So, we know we need to consider more reliable safety nets we may count on when life throws us an unexpected curve. We know it's important to have others we can trust around us. Even though we are aware that spouses may betray us, friends might abandon us, and family members could disown us, others of our kind may yet be our better options for nets to catch us should we fall.
Last week we considered how people sometimes show up in our lives presenting us with opportunities to help or be of service. This week the shoe's on the other foot. To whom do we turn when we need help (if we dare ask for it!)? Is there always an agency ready to respond? Or have we cobbled together enough of our own personal support system that we know who to call? But have we opened ourselves to the point where trust runs deep? If so, we know what it's like when a friend or a lover or a church member becomes more than a safety net. When that person or group of persons provides such sturdy support, the net becomes a nest.
And when we choose to add God to the knitting of our safety nets, trusting is all the more essential. Do we believe God is there when we cry out for help? Do we trust a presence we can't see and seldom feel? Many of us turn to our Savior with prayers that are like yo-yos: we toss our concerns in God's direction but then take them back into our own hands. Anne Lamott illustrates this in her book Help, Thanks, Wow as she relates this story, "A nun I know once told me she kept begging God to take her character defects away from her. After years of this prayer, God finally got back to her: I'm not going to take anything away from you, you have to give it to Me."
It's a remarkable invitation, really. To trust that God is ever with us and for us. That God is count-on-able. And not just trust all that about God. But trust God. As Elisha did when Elijah left his side. As Paul did when his feet were fettered by chains. More than a safety net. A nest. In the words of hymnwriter Jaroslav Vajda, "God of the ages God near at hand God of the loving heart How do your children say Joy How do your children say Home"