Outside The Safety Zone


My visits to Santo Domingo Xenacoj in Guatemala the past three summers have all coincided with the annual festival which takes place in the village each year.  The festival which lasts for a week or so fills the town central park with food, games, and some crazy rides.  Villagers fill the town each night to enjoy the festivities.

The Ferris wheel pictured above has been part of the festival each of the past three years, and it’s the biggest attraction at the festival.  It is balanced by a series of wood blocks which keep the wheel level, and it is hooked up to a gas-powered tractor engine which spins the wheel at breakneck speeds.  Fluorescent lights are fastened to the spokes of the wheel with electrical tape and wire ties.  And the seats are hung at the far reaches of the wheel.  Riders climb up a ramp and into their seats where they are taken on the ride of their lives without seat belts.

Is it safe?

Probably not – at least not completely.  But it’s a good ride.  Just ask my kids and the hundreds of villagers who rode this ride during this year’s festival.

For some reason, as I thought about this Ferris wheel, I kept going back to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

If you remember the story, Lucy is talking to the Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan.  Aslan is a lion who has special powers and authority over the land of Narnia.  He has a tremendous compassion and love for the creatures of Narnia, but he is also dangerous.  Here’s how Mr. Beaver describes Aslan:

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Aslan represents Christ in the story.  As part of the story, C.S. Lewis reminds readers that Jesus Christ isn’t safe, but he’s good – He’s the King!

When you choose to follow Christ, you never know what path you may travel.  It may be dangerous, but you can be sure it will be good.  As Americans, we tend to strive for comfort and security.  We want to be safe.  What if comfort, security, and safety are the wrong target?

Maybe we’re called to live life more dangerously.  You may not be called to go to Guatemala, to Liberia, or to another strange land, but you may be called to get out of your comfort zone.  Maybe it’s simply walking across the street to talk with your neighbor or visiting a local nursing home to spend time with a lonely resident. Whatever it is, don’t settle for safe.  Climb on board your Ferris wheel and hang on for the ride of your life!

When has your faith led you something that didn’t feel safe?  When was the last time you journeyed outside your comfort zone?