Sunday, June 27, 2004

Common Sense

Living where I do (and being who I am), I've heard a lot of the phrase, "He gave us common sense and expects us to use it."

I have a problem with that idea. I've been searching the Book and have yet to find someone who did the "common sense" thing after being told to step out in faith. It didn't make much sense for David, a "lad" with no battle experience and no armor of any kind, to approach Goliath, a trained warrior about twice his size with full armor and a really big sword, with only a sling-shot and five smooth stones. It didn't make much sense for Peter to step out of the boat onto the water when asked. It didn't make much sense for Gideon to bring 300 men with a torch and clay jar in one hand and a trumpet in the other to "fight" thousands of the enemy. It didn't make much sense for Ruth to leave her family, her gods, her traditions, and her culture to go live with her mother-in-law. It didn't make much sense for Noah, who'd never seen rain, to build a huge boat.

It seems to me that people (here especially) seem to think that simply being in a "dangerous" place is enough. He told me to come to Baghdad, so here I am. I've stepped out in faith. He's big enough to protect my life since I'm here due to His request....BUT I'm not going to leave my neighborhood because it's not "safe." He gave me common sense, so I'm going to use it and stay inside my office. He's big enough for me to trust that it's ok to be here, but He's apparently not big enough for me to be able to actually do anything while here.

The thing is, I think this holds true no matter where you live. Being a once (and possibly future) risk analyst, I look at things a little differently than many. I'm personally of the opinion that every town is about equally dangerous. Granted, I'm probably a little more likely to be killed in a bombing here than I would be in DC (although a maximum of 20-30 people per day out of about 6 million in the city is still pretty good odds), but then again, there haven't been any planes falling from the sky here, and my guess is that my chance of being an innocent bystander to a crime here is probably far lower than it would be in the DC-Metro area. Some probabilities increase, but others decrease. The probability of being caught in and killed by a farming implement is pretty low in DC (or here), but much higher in a small farming community.

And if you don't look at the probabilities and only look to Him, the bottom line is that when it's your time, no matter where you live, He'll take you home or elsewhere. There's nothing you can do to prevent why not trust Him in the meantime and live so that your life (or death) will bring glory to Him? The issue isn't "is this a 'safe' part of town?" or "am I using my common sense in befriending this person who may drag me into their sinful lifestyle?" The issue is "are my eyes firmly fixed on Him and am I currently doing His will?" If those things are the case, then the apparent "safety" of your location or action is completely irrelevant.

We were called to have the faith of a child. When children jump from "on high" into their earthly father's arms, they don't stop to calculate rationally whether or not their father can or will catch them - they just blindly leap. It's only after we experience a few failures in the people around us that we learn to "look before we leap." But HE will never fail us. We don't have to "look first" or use our "common sense," because He has promised that what time we are afraid, we can put our trust in Him.

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