Living Calmly In The Shadow Of Angry Giants: But Is It Safe?

The naturalist and poet Alexander Von Humboldt wrote: “Ecuadorians are strange and unique beings: they sleep peacefully surrounded by roaring volcanoes, they live poor among incomparable riches and they become happy listening to sad music.”

Our Calling is drawing us to Quito, Ecuador where we will work with disadvantaged children through the Children of Promise ministry.  We will also work with the Church of God Seminary, training leaders and church workers.  Quito is a significant city with a population of three million people in the city proper.  It is surrounded by five active volcanoes and has crime and poverty rates that are at a critical level.  It is a city that looks like a quintessential mission field, filled with people living in peril and looking for answers.

One question that we find ourselves answering on a regular basis is: “Is it safe to move your family to Ecuador?”  We always appreciate that question.  It is good to know people care.  Our answer may not satisfy the questioner but it is both historically and theologically sound.  When asked about the safety of being a follower of Christ we can’t help but question the question.  It seems that recently in American Christianity the idea that God cares primarily about our safety has replaced the idea that God is willing to risk it all on behalf of a lost and dying world (see Luke Chapter 15).

The prosperity gospel of God wanting nothing but the comfort and safety of His disciples opens itself up for failure as soon as the adherent to such a gospel finds themselves in a difficult situation.  A cosmic score card develops in the minds of people who are convinced that God would never call His people into suffering.  “God gave me a good parking spot, I must be doing good.”  “God let my house be robed, I must have displeased Him.”

God love you

Far from the hollow promises of the false gospel of safety we see a true comfort in the face of adversity in the words of Christ.  “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Following Christ is not a recipe to avoid hardship but it is a way of facing the difficulties of life with the assurance that we are not alone.  Furthermore, by God’s grace, when we walk with Christ in his mission on this side of heaven we will continue to walk with him throughout eternity.

For us the question is not “is it safe” but “is this where Christ is leading us?”  Our view is eternal, we are not alone, we are not afraid, we are safe and secure in Christ’s everlasting arms, even if there is an angry giant near by.

A missionary who traveled to Ecuador before us once said: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

So, as Mt. Cotopaxi threatens the over 325,000 Ecuadorians who live in its shadow we desire to be among them offering eternal hope!

In His Grip,

The Downings

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