There is a scene in the CS Lewis classic novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, where the Pevensie children (the protagonists) learn about Aslan, the creator, sustainer and saviour of Narnia, and the scene is striking in its truth. In Lewis's fictional world, Aslan is the Jesus figure throughout the Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis does an incredible job drawing deep theological and Christological truths out of the Aslan figure, and in the first introduction of the Lion, he wastes no time teaching the reader a truth that is undeniable and worth our consideration.

The scene involves a conversation between the children and Mr. Beaver (a Narnian creature), as the children try to get a handle on who this Aslan is, and Mr. Beaver subsequently takes them to school.

The scene plays out with this conversation;

"Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh," said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you." CS LEWIS (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

There are many things packed into these few sentences worth thinking about, but the most obvious point Lewis is making here is this;

Safe and good aren't the same thing.

Aslan isn't safe, but he's good. Lewis's point then plays out for these kids as they experience Aslan and the life he has for them, discovering that life, joy, adventure and vitality often come at the expense of safety, not in tandem with it.

Safe and good aren't the same thing.

Over the past twelve months, through the time of the global coronavirus pandemic, I have heard the word "safe" more than I have in my entire life. "Stay safe." "We have to keep ourselves and each other safe." "We must remain vigilant to stay safe." This stuff all sounds right, but I wonder if we, like Susan, believe something that sounds right and isn't true and have convinced ourselves that "safe" and "good" are one and the same. They are not.

First, safety is a delusion of a control we do not have. It's sobering when you stand back and consider how unsafe we are at all times. We all know people who have died unexpectedly; we are all familiar with world history that has proven to us over and over that there are forces in this world that can take us out in an instant, as much as we work to ignore these facts day-to-day. Humans generally aren't safe to each other. There are viruses, as we are well aware. There are asteroids, volcanoes, sharks, and rabid rabbits we must consider. There are coronavirus variants out there, and there are plane crashes, car crashes, relationship crashes, emotional trauma, and on and on we can go. I am not advocating to simply throw all caution to the wind, but I am suggesting that we have an incredible ability to fixate on one area of safety, all the while ignoring others that might be more detrimental to your safety. For example, if you are the type to get up in the morning, smoke a cigarette, eat a pound of bacon, hop in your 4000lb hunk of metal and drive yourself 120km/hr down the highway while wearing a mask (alone in your car), you may have a deluded idea of what is safe and what is not.

(If you are offended by that last paragraph, I would love to hear your feedback, you can email me at ;)

Second, and my first point begins to touch on this, sometimes, safety in one area ensures danger in another. We have seen this with the pandemic restrictions. We may be staying safe from the coronavirus, but we also may be endangering ourselves socially, emotionally, economically, spiritually, societally and communally in untold ways.

Safe and good aren't the same thing.

Third, the best things in life aren't safe because life isn't safe. Life, vitality, satisfaction and joy generally come in the more dangerous and exposed areas of our existence. Real friendship is risky. Business success involves significant risk. Marriage is risky. Intimacy is risky. Sex is dangerous. Competition is dangerous.

I wonder if we have lost our way a little bit because of all of the comforts and advantages of our society? Is it possible that our resource has made us fragile in a way that puts us at even more risk?

(For some fun reading on this thought, check out H.G. Well's Time Machine, where humanity had advanced so far in their comfort and safety and had become so fragile that they lost all semblance of life, meaning, purpose, and vitality).

Finally, for us followers of Jesus, and this really is all we need to think about...Jesus is not safe... BUT, He's good.

He offers us life and life to the full, and yet, He is the one that calls us to follow Him on the narrow path. Jesus is the one who posed the question, "what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? Jesus called us to lay our lives down, to take up our cross and follow Him. Jesus calls us into risk (faith operates in risky places) to step out of the boat (like Peter did), to give generously, to love unconditionally, to forgive relentlessly, to pick a fight with the powers and principalities of darkness, all of which are not safe. I could go on, but my point is, none of these things in relation to following Jesus are safe... but they're good.

So here's the call, my friends. It's not for us to be ignorant or put others in harm's way. The call is to push beyond the blind assumption that safety and goodness are one and the same. They are not; let's not use safety as our guide; let's use goodness as our guide. Let's not ask, "what is safe," let's ask, "what is good?"

Jesus isn't safe, but He's good. Indeed, Jesus demonstrated to us that the greatest, most live-giving act ever accomplished cost Him His life. The cross wasn't safe, but it was good.

Live this day in the light of the goodness of God. Ask Him, "what is good?" and then do it.

Be safe where and when you can, but don't let safety be your guide; let His goodness guide you, and trust Him if you find yourself in dangerous places. It might not be safe, but it will be good.