I have a favorite pillow.
That may sound silly coming from a man that is almost in his 30’s, but that is the truth.
I’ve had this pillow since I was a kid. It is not a giant body pillow or a pillow created in some funny shape. It’s a normal feather pillow. But what makes it special, why it’s my favorite, is because it is mine. I know this pillow.
I love the way that it molds to my face when I fall asleep at night. I know exactly how long I need to wait before I can flip it over and get that cold side of the pillow feeling. I know how to lump it so I can sit up and read in bed if I’m suddenly not tired.
For me, there is no other pillow quite like it.
The same goes for this one quilt that I own. My grandmother made it for me. It is covered in frog drawings (her favorite animal), sown together with the love only a grandmother can have for someone like me. It is always warm and cozy. Just long enough to cover my toes, never too short regardless of how big I got. Summer or winter, this was the one quilt on my bed, keeping me safe every night.
I’m sure if you really sat and thought about it, at what age or stage of life you are in, you have or have had a favorite pillow or blanket too. Maybe its both, like me.
I might even go so far as to say that everyone has a favorite blanket or pillow of some kind. Why am I so certain? Because at the center of this idea of having a blanket and a pillow that we prefer, at the heart of it all is this:
We all want to feel safe. We all want that feeling that we are secure and nothing can get us.
We all like to feel safe, and especially as kids, we find that safety and security in our blankets and pillows. We pull them up over our heads when the monsters under the bed threaten to get us. We use our pillows as a weapon, something to protect us from what wants to destroy our security.
As we get older, we merely put down the blankets and pillows and pick up other things to make us feel the same way. That is why we have locks on our doors, alarms on our cars and bars in front of the bank vaults.
We want to feel that safety and security again. And not just for us, but for our loved ones and for all the earthly possessions that we have. Nothing can get to your family when the door is dead bolted. No one is getting away in your car when that annoying alarm declares its in trouble. There is nothing that a criminal can do to the contents of a bank vault when everything is behind those bars.
These things are safe. They are secure. And we like that feeling. We enjoy that feeling. It gives us the warm cozy feeling inside that our blankets and pillows did as well. These locks, alarms and bars just lack the physical softness and tenderness that pillows and blankets do. But it is all about safety and security.
But the truth is that this is all idealist thinking. Yes, locks and alarms and bars are things we put in place to keep us feeling safe and secure, but that isn’t always the case.
Sometimes the deadbolt doesn’t stop the deranged man from breaking in and threatening to harm your family. Sometimes the alarm isn’t enough to scare away a would be thief, and it is ignored by everyone, leaving you without your ride and a feeling of tremendous loss. Sometimes the bars blocking the bank vault are cut, bent, taken out in such a way that they are rendered useless, leaving all your treasures to be taken from you.
Our measures, the extremes we go to so that we feel secure do not promise us any more than a feeling of safety.
If you add another lock to your house, besides the deadbolt, that doesn’t mean that a thief can’t get in anymore. Adding a steering wheel club may project the image of a secure car, but even vehicles with clubs in them can be taken. Even when the bank adds security guards, laser and heavily vaulted doors, it is no guarantee that the contents of the bank will remain their forever.
Such a depressing reality could leave one very jaded and cynical of anyone or anything proclaiming to provide a sense of safety and security. But in my life I have found that there is one person that I can rely on when I feel insecure, when I am feeling beyond my depths and very unsafe.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1.9 NIV (emphasis added)
For the Lord our God is with us wherever we go.
What a promise, what a declaration! No matter where we go, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in , no matter the feeling of safety or security, there in our midst is the LORD our God.
When we are feeling alone and fearful, there our God is. When we find ourselves devastated by the loss of a loved one or the tragic theft of your worldly possessions, even then God is there with you. When our safety and our security have been breached, when all trust and belief is broken, there our God stands and says with all confidence, “I am here with you.”
At the end of the book of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples that, “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). Jesus is there, with you, even to the very end.
What is confusing for some people is how is this Jesus there with us? How can we be conformed, how can we be reassured of safety and security when Jesus is not on the earth any longer?
It is true that after these words that Jesus spoke that He ascended into heaven. But He did not leave us alone. With His departure, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, God’s spirit. And in this news there is much to rejoice about. The apostle Paul says this to the church in Corinth.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? – 1 Corinthians 3.16
Some people translate this passage so that it says the Spirit of God dwells inside of you, within your being.
How amazing and how reassuring. Not only is God going to be with us to the end of the age, not only will He be with us where ever we go, but there is more for us. To those that believe in Him, to those that put their trust in Jesus Christ, He dwells there within you.
You could start trying to explain that all theologically (not that there is anything wrong with that) but in all that explaining, this truth and reality cannot and should not go understated.
To those that are willing to make God their pillow and blanket, to those that are willing to put their safety and security in Jesus rather than in the things of this world, they find themselves not only accompanied by the Lord and Maker of the Universe. They find that deep within their souls there is a loving God that is providing and giving all safety and security that you need, for whatever situation there is.
If your house is broken into, God is there beside you, inside of you, giving you a sense of peace that everything is going to be okay.
If your car is suddenly missing and has left you stranded, God is there with you, speaking words of relaxing truth, that He will provide and keep you in this time without.
If your bank is robbed and all of your worldly possessions have vanished with the bandit in the night, God is there with you, reassuring you, He will bring justice, He will restore you and bless you with more.
There is no circumstance, no situation where God would leave, no time that God would not be there to comfort, bring security and assure you that you are in fact safe in His arms.
To the nation of Israel, after they had been rescued and brought to safety by God, He said to them,