There is a charge made that those who believe in God do so only as a crutch to escape the harsh realities of this world. Instead of being able to take life’s challenges head-on, they create a parental figure to believe in, call it God, and go about their merry way. For most people, this is ridiculous on its face. History is replete with examples of thousands facing very real, very visceral, very painful challenges even to the point of death in the name of God without trying to escape it at all. These people stand on the foundation that God has placed them on.
Think of man able to weather all sorts of storms in life while his family is there to support him. Should his family crumble, however, the core of his life give way, it will not take much to bring him into destruction. In the case of God, it is not escapism, but a foundation to build our lives on. It is precisely because God is such an immutable being, such a Rock, that a man can build his life on Him, and return to Him for stability, strength, and refreshment. In this sense there is an “escape,” but it is one that prepares him for engagement with the world and its difficulties instead of simply hiding him from such things.
There are, however, those who do think of God as a place to hide from the tempests and trials of life, and even encourage others to do so. They may even write nice sounding songs about “Jesus,” but it is not a reflection of the real Jesus that we read of in the Bible. Do not misunderstand; I am not saying that Jesus is not able or willing to comfort us in times of need. We see Him time and again giving sympathy to those who need it or who need a brief respite in His presence. What I am saying is that the same Jesus who said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” (Matt. 11:28) is the same Jesus who expected all (yes, all) of His followers to go into the world and make disciples of all men. Jesus did not come to enable us to escape life. He came to give us life more abundantly (Jn. 10:10).
To maintain this view of God, and to perpetuate it, can bring a great deal of harm to many people even outside the one that holds it:
1. They see Jesus saying only “Come unto Me,” instead of, “Go out in My Name.” They do not become powerful, independent agents of Christ, but weak, unfocused, and fearful spiritual babes.
2. They encourage others with a tendency towards this mentality to stay where they are instead of growing into that which God intends them to be.
3. They provide critics with ammunition for this meme, and make Jesus look unattractive to those who desire maturity over blind sentimentality.
4. They do not fight on when things get hard, preventing the Christian message from people in a world desperately in need of His love and strength.
So there you have it. If you find yourself seeking only asylum instead of growth, realize that God’s plans for you are much bigger than that. Christianity is not to enable those who wish to stay immature and hidden away from the world to do so. You are God’s tool to help bring this world to Him. He will not be pleased with those who take the gifts and skills and abilities He has blessed them with and hide them away. He calls us to more. To put on spiritual muscle we need to put ourselves out there. It can be scary, but He has told us that He will always be there with us and for us. He will not let us down.
So get out there. He has given you the victory.