On the morning of May 11 (Wed.), mass evacuations occurred at the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court and through out the capital due to a small, errant plane flying within three miles of the White House. The lives of federal workers and D.C. residents were suddenly interrupted by the red alert and security measures. In the matter of moments, thousands of people suddenly lost their sense of security once again as they did during 9/11.
Security personnel everywhere were heard yelling directions to the evacuating public amidst the chaos: "Run, this is no joke."
The lost sense of security during that brief but chaotic hour is by no means unique to D.C. residents and this particular morning. It is a phenomenon that has reached as far as war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan, the tribal-conflicts in Rwanda and Zaire; poverty-stricken Haiti and Ethiopia; tsunami-tortured Indonesia and Sri Lanka. With the unpredictable upheavals in China and Russia, even citizens of those communist are no exceptions.
I had no sense of security when living in the Philippines for over a year in late-1980's and in Israel for three summer months in late-1990's. All around to provide security were gun-toting soldiers and stone-face security guards, but they provided just the opposite -- a sense of fear. I had to endure embarrassing body searches, delays at check points and frequent evacuations from public buildings in exchange for "a sense of security." Upon return to Canada and the USA, the sharpest feeling was that of relief from the stress and fear of living abroad. Whenever and wherever there is a scarcity of security, people must live with anxiety and uncertainty.
Once I was at the home of a seminary professor in America where he was welcoming dozens of newly arrived international students and their children with a barbecue party beside his big swimming pool. In the party atmosphere, a foreign student blurted out a question to the host, "Doctor, why are you living like a prisoner?" The host was startled by the surprising question. The student asked it after seeing that iron bars were added to all windows with a matching steel gate & metal doors all around the house. Of course, this new comer from Africa did not realize that the nice six-bedroom urban dwelling was once a countryside heritage home.
The professor gave a vague answer that prompted more questions from the inquisitive foreign student. Overhearing the conversation, I could not help but offered him my explanation, "for the sense of security."
CAUSES FOR CONCERNS
In the recent months, there have been well publicized cases of missing children and school violence. National radio news has been broadcasting reports about the trials of a child molester, job loss due to out-sourcing abroad, political debate on social security, rampant identity theft, highway random shooting, etc. There is so much to be concerned about in the world: personal safety, job security, market stability, pension continuity, national security, environment and ecology. People of all walks of life and of different socio-economic categories all suffer the loss of security -- from teenagers to retirees, manual laborers to IT engineers, concerned parents and working bread-winners, NAACIO employees and government officials. In this matter of the loss of a sense of security, there is no discrimination - regardless of age, wealth, gender, seniority, nationality and ethnicity.
CONSEQUENCES OF LOOSING THE SENSE OF SECURITY
This loss of the sense of security can cause various degrees of behavioral, mental and spiritual disorders and functional incapacitations.
The negative manifestations can vary from anxiety and depression to neurosis and suicidal tendency. All of us should be observant of loved ones and people around us; especially the care givers, service personnel and Christian workers. We are our brothers' keepers and this is within the bound of "loving your neighbor."
HOW THEN SHOULD CHRISTIAN LIVE IN SUCH A CONTEXT?
In response to the question (how then should Christians live in such a context?), there are three resources available to Christians: genuine personal faith, faith community in action and relational network.
Christianity in the form of mere rational faith or family tradition is not sufficient. Christians will just suffer the same as others unless they:
*have a genuine personal faith in God's sovereignty in human history;
*trust in the Lordship of Christ for provision and protection;
*rest with the assurance of God's fatherly love and merciful guidance;
*walk daily with Him, live in the light of His Word and be empowered by the presence of the Holy Spirit;
*pray and cast all their cares upon Him.
As members of the Body, we are to love one another - a distinctive mark of the children of the God, who Himself embodies love and is the Giver of grace in the form of joy, peace and hope to His "called-out-ones" (the original meaning of the "church"). The "faith community" should be a vibrant and real "commune of saved sinners sharing together;" not just people who quote scripture in conversation or engage in ritualistic worship or social-club-type religious gathering. It should be the haven for those who suffer the loss of the sense of security and the fortress against the tide of apathy and the storm of violence.
An individual who can draw strength and comfort from a solid Christian marriage, strong Christian home and life-nurturing cell-group will weather the storm of lost security in contemporary society.
Our Lord is the "prince of peace" who greets and grants you "shalom" that the world cannot give. Trade in your sense of insecurity and swelling anxiety for the fruit of the Spirit - peace.