“Snatch” is such a visceral word, don’t you think? It speaks of violence and burglary.
And there it is in John 10: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28-30)
It’s interesting that this passage follows one where Jesus contrasts His own life-giving mission with “The thief [who]comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”
There’s no doubt who it is who is doing the snatching.
But today let’s focus on the other end of the spectrum – on the secure relationship envisaged by the one who knows he is not about to be snatched. When we put our trust in Jesus -when we take His hand- we enter into a secure relationship.
The verse always reminds me of standing by a busy road with my two younger boys, taking their hands firmly in mine (my oldest boy and my daughter were more responsible and compliant, perhaps!). The point was that, come what may, their hands were going to remain in mine. I had firmly decided that nothing or “no one would snatch them out of my hand.”
My will was set on it and my love dictated it. Any alternative was too horrific to contemplate.
And more than this: I had much greater understanding of the risks involved, and much greater strength with which to put my will, my love and wisdom into determined action
Is it any less with Father God? The journey of life is hazardous in the extreme and we very often do not understand the risks involved. Sometimes we blithely go “where angels fear to tread.” We may put ourselves in terrible danger.
Of course, God wants us to grow, and to be responsible, wise and circumspect, but in one important sense we never outgrow our need of Father’s care.
“Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your saviour, your guide? If He is, you don’t need to search any further for security.” (Elisabeth Elliot)
But there’s more to say here. As long as a believer is worrying about whether or not they are truly saved, or truly safe, they will never grow up into spiritual maturity. It basically guarantees that a Christian will remain stuck in spiritual infancy. And worse, it paints a picture of God that is not only untrue but also unbiblical. It cheapens the gift of salvation – the gift of grace – and make God look like a finicky human.
But what happens when that sense of assurance blossoms inside you? What happens when you finally grow up and realise that you are safe and loved?
Why, then you are ready for adventures.
You are able to make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future!
The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. A recent writer termed it a call to go “Into the wild.”
“If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.” (Jon Krakauer)
This sense of adventure, springing from an assurance of safety is there too in John 10: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
Do you see it? The word “pasture” is a metaphor for satisfaction. Safety is only in one place -in Jesus Christ. He is the gate. But the gate is hinged, and those who find their security in Him go in and out! There’s no hiding in corners or skulking in sanctuaries. We go into all the world and every aspect of it. We go with our emotions and intellects, our nerves and guts and passions. We enter like salt cauterising wounds, preserving what otherwise goes rotten; we go like light, exposing dark corners, and illuminating obstacles.
And we are intended to find pasture there, to love and be loved ,to embrace, write poems, play music, paint massive canvases full of vibrant pleasure and dance quadrilles and cook and clean toilet bowls….
And do all this knowing that we are eternally loved, and eternally securein Him.
For none shall snatch you out of HIs hand.