Alternatively please call us at Fahan Presbyterian Church with any queries or concerns.
We live in uncertain times. Who would have thought that the
Celtic tiger would have collapsed so dramatically? That banking
institutions could wipe out years of savings for many vulnerable
savers? Or that clouds of ash from an Icelandic volcano would
have brought Europe’s flight paths to a standstill grounding millions
of passengers for days?
We like to think that life is under control, and that events are
predictable. Life is then comfortable and familiar. We get into a
routine of work and family life. We can plan. We develop a comfort
The reality though is that we do not know what a day will bring
forth. Life can be unpredictable. The routines get interrupted.
Illness… accidents… things breaking down… bereavements…
erupting volcanoes. These and many other events become threats,
pushing us out of our comfort zone.
What’s it like in your life?
How does this play out in your life? Often we react with feelings of
anxiety. We worry with fearful thoughts running around our heads.
We might get angry and frustrated. We can feel helpless. We
wonder what will happen next. I don’t feel safe. Will I cope?
And sometimes these reactions begin to dominate our thinking,
taking away happiness, affecting our relationships, perhaps even
making it hard to work and do day-to-day tasks.
Or sometimes we put on a front. When there’s a threat, then the
best line of defence is to attack. We work hard at appearing to
cope. We overwork, try hard to please others, become angry and
domineering and attempt to keep everything under control. But
often it leads to stress and not the peace we’re longing for.
Why am I like this?
What’s going on that I begin to feel like this? All of us like to be in
control of our lives – the ‘master of our own destinies’. But when
bigger things happen that are beyond our control we feel threatened.
At a basic level we don’t feel safe. We’re insecure.
This insecurity is a basic realisation that I’m not in control. Bad
things happen and I’m vulnerable.
Where can I find security?
So where is security to be found in this world? Where do we find
those things that make us feel safe, secure and at peace?
We often look to things that are comfortable and familiar. Having
people we know around us, people we can be ourselves with,
people we can be vulnerable with. For some of us we get our
security in work. The routine, the job we know inside out, the
colleagues whose ways we know well. We can try to feel secure
through earning a comfortable income. Saving up, investing and
having plenty in reserve should times get tough. For others our
security is in the image and reputation that we try hard to preserve
– we get a sense of security in others’ opinions of us.
Whilst God has given some of these good things to allow a sense of
safety and peace in life there is a problem. Families fall out. Friends
can move away. Redundancies occur. Retirement comes. Banks
collapse. We make mistakes. People die. None of these things can
give a lasting security. That’s life.
The Bible deals with real life. King David, who wrote many of the
Psalms in the Old Testament, is best known for felling the giant,
Goliath. But David faced and wrote about many other issues in life.
Betrayal, bereavement, loss of friendship, poverty, life-threatening
danger, false accusations, children going astray, death of a child,
mistakes which cost the lives of others – David faced it all.
Where did He find security in the midst of all that?
Listen to what he says:
“In you, O LORD, do I take refuge…”
Where does he find a place of safety? In God. In the rest of this
song, Psalm 31, he gives God a number of names: a rock, a
fortress, a rock of refuge. Imagine one of those big secure stone
forts or castles dotted around Ireland. A place of safety, a place of
shelter, a place where we can feel safe and secure in the midst of
To say that God was his place of safety must mean that he knew
God in a very close and personal way. He trusted God to protect
him no matter what.
Do you know God with that kind of confidence? That relationship of
trust in God is what Jesus came to bring. Put your trust in all that
Jesus has done in His life and death for us. And God will be your
Dr Andrew Collins MRC Psych (consultant psychiatrist)
Andrew can be contacted by writing to
PO Box 14, Lifford, Co Donegal
On R238 from Derry to Buncrana at Tooban, Burnfoot
Republic of Ireland F93 XY65