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By Pastor Jerry Waugh

Northcliffe Baptist Church, Spring Hill

If you are a parent (or better yet, a grandparent), do you remember the games you played with your children or that you may play with your grandchildren? A game I play with my granddaughters is chase. Uncle Jordan chases them pretending to try to get them. But they can escape the “fear” of being caught by Uncle Jordan by running to into grandpa’s arms and yelling “safe!” For no one can harm them when they are with grandpa… they are safe.

That’s fun to watch through the eyes of a two-year-old and a four-year-old granddaughter. But as they grow older, they will come to know what we know-- our wonderful world isn’t always so wonderful, nor is it always so safe.

In light of everything going on around the world (terrorism, nuclear weapons, shootings from the schools to the malls, etc.), a recent newspaper article asked the question, “Will we ever feel safe again?”

A little boy had diligently rehearsed for his role in the Easter play. His one line was, “It is I, be not afraid.” He kept saying it over and over again to himself. “It is I, be not afraid.” On the day of the program, he was extremely nervous. He stepped in front of the glaring spotlight and saw dozens of faces looking at him. He panicked, and his mind went blank. Finally he blurted out, “It’s me, and I’m scared to death.”

That may have been the wrong line in the play but that is a great line in a prayer. “God, it’s me, and I’m scared to death.” Fear, feeling unsafe, comes to everyone. Even as a person of faith, sometimes what’s known or what’s unknown can ignite feelings of fear. A man of faith in the Bible named David didn’t deny times of feeling afraid. But, as a person of faith, he knew what to do with his fears. He said to God “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3).

Here is what one poll revealed as some of the top fears people face: not having enough money; not having a job; failure; people we love becoming seriously ill; people we love dying; our declining health; our death; loneliness; terrorist attacks; and the unknown. Of course, you could add more things to this list. All these things can cause us to feel “unsafe.”

Wouldn’t it be great if there were someone we could run to and say “safe?” Again, it was David, in the Bible, who knew what it was like to feel unsafe, who said “God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we are in trouble. So we will not be afraid …” (Psalm 46:1-2).

David didn’t put on rose-colored glasses and imply that trusting God would keep him safe from the things in life that can hurt us. But he did believe that God could keep him safe from the things in life that harm us. Hurt is what is painful to us - harm is what destroys us. There will be times when I will be hurt, but the things that hurt me will not destroy me. Why? Because I have gone to the God who loves me and watches over me. And that allows me to say in an imperfect world – “safe.”

Pastor Jerry Waugh

Northcliffe Baptist Church, Spring Hill

Temple Beth David September Events


Temple Beth David, 13158 Antelope St., Spring Hill, is preparing to celebrate the Jewish High Holy Days. Following is the schedule: Selichot Service,  Sat.,  Sept. 16, 8pm;  Erev Rosh Hashanah Service, Weds.,  Sept. 20, 8pm;  Rosh Hashanah Morning Service, Thurs.,  Sept. 21, 10am;  Tashlich and BBQ at Pine Island, Sept 21, 5pm;  Kol Nidre,  Fri.,  Sept. 29,  8pm;  Yom Kipper Morning, Saturday, Service, Sept. 30, 10am;  Yizkor Service Sept. 30, 12:30pm;  Yom Kipper Afternoon Service, Sept. 30, 4:30pm.  Break-the-Fast, Sept. 30, 6:45pm.

We welcome you to celebrate with our congregation.