For the last 20 years Moses Shahrivar has invented and designed safety equipment for motorcyclists. Why is he involved in such a pursuit? It’s because motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than are the occupants of a car. So, he’s developed numerous airbag vests and jackets. These garments, activated electronically, have proved fairly effective in protecting the neck, thorax, and spine of the motorcyclist in accidents.
Just recently, however, Moses revealed his latest invention – airbag jeans. These are made of extremely durable denim and have a system of airbags sewn into them. When activated, the airbags inflate to protect the rider’s lower extremities. Moses heads the company Airbag Inside Sweden AB. He is seeking certification for his airbag jeans from European health and safety standards and approval for sale in the European Union.
Now, the prospective buyer should be advised – these airbag garments will not keep the driver out of accidents. The driver must still exercise utmost caution. But in the event of an accident, they will help protect his or her upper body (by the airbag vest/jacket) and lower body (be the airbag jeans). And they’re not foolproof. They do not prevent injury, but only lessen the danger of it.
In sharp contrast, God has the power to protect us safe from all accidents, tribulation, and demonic attacks. Yet, in all honesty, it is not always His practice to do so. God allows trials to come upon us. But when He does, God will always preserve us through them and deliver us out of them. David declared, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of all of them” (Psalm 34:19). He will not always shield us from affliction. But He will most certainly protect our faith and soul through it and eventually deliver us out of it.
Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). Yet, immediately after His baptism, Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil and threatened by wild beasts (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13). But throughout these attacks the angels ministered to Him.
Now, to many Christian believers this is not enough. They want complete immunity from adversity. But, if God is to ever prepare us for heaven, complete immunity is not possible. For “through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). For one reason, if God keeps us from accidents, trials, and temptations then we’ll remain blissfully ignorant of His continual intervention in our lives. We’ll forget about Christ – who calls us into fellowship with Himself (1 Corinthians 1:9). If God always keeps us from trouble, we’ll never be driven to God’s throne of mercy to seek His help. Consequently, we’ll pray far less frequently and fervently.
And from the perspective of our sanctification, without tribulation our faith will not develop as it ought to. We won’t be adequately conformed into Christ’s image. We may complain to God, “Why did you ever allow these things to happen to me?” If we do, then we’ve forgotten that our Lord suffered the very same afflictions – which were necessary to perfect Him as our Savior (Hebrews 2:10; 5:8-9). We further forget that the Bible clearly states that such adversity is essential to our own growth and perfection (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-3).
If we accuse God of unfaithfulness for allowing hardship and tragedy, then we’ve overlooked something else. Though these trials brought us pain, they did not do the harm they would have if the Lord not protected us through them. Christ makes our afflictions light (Matthew 11:30; 2 Corinthians 4:17).
In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus told Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has asked permission to sift you all as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have been restored, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus could have squarely told Satan, “Keep your grubby hands off Peter! Don’t you dare touch him!” But Jesus saw deficiencies in Peter that needed correcting. So, He gave permission to the devil to tempt Peter – but only for God’s own purpose in Peter’s life. Jesus needed to develop a compassionate and forgiving attitude in Peter’s heart. So He allowed Peter to enter the temptation – and to fail.
Yet Jesus did not allow Satan to afflict Peter to the extent he would have liked. Jesus restricted his attacks. And through the trial Jesus preserved Peter’s soul and faith – so that he would recover and be restored to Jesus. And, as a result of the trial, Peter would be a far more effective instrument of the Lord’s love and forgiveness to others.
Yes, God’s purpose of sanctification in our lives will often clash with our own plans for a trouble-free existence. But God intercepts such plans out of love, not cruelty. He’s preparing us for eternity in heaven. And He’ll protect our faith and soul within the trouble and eventually deliver us out of it. As those airbag vests and jeans help keep the bones of the motorcyclist from breaking, so the faithfulness of God will guard our hearts, minds, and faith.
PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, though I yearn for a trouble-free existence, I know that trials must darken my path. When they come, please help me to stay focused on Jesus – who suffered far more than me. And please help me stay focused on the eternal joys of heaven – by which Jesus Himself endured the agony of the cross. I pray this through Jesus Christ, Amen.
(Information from: https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/21/tech/motorcycle-airbags-spc-intl/index.html)