It’s a word that’s been on my mind lately. Everywhere you look, things seem precarious: flip on the world, national or even local news…yikes! Precarious. Friends and family with scary health circumstances….precarious. Financial needs vs checkbook balance…precarious. Suddenly, life feels uncertain. Risky. Perilous. Insecure. Dangerous.
So being a writer and a word nerd, I did an etymology study of the word precarious and it was pretty eye opening:
Precarious is a legal word meaning, “held through the favor of another,” from Latin precarius “obtained by asking, praying or mere favor,” from prex “entreaty, prayer.”
The notion of “dependent on the will of another” led to the extended sense of, “risky, dangerous, uncertain.”
One etymologist says this about the convoluted usage of the word:
“No word is more unskillfully used than this. It is used for uncertain in all its senses; but it only means uncertain, as dependent on others …” [Johnson].
Isn’t that interesting? The leap from being “held by favor” to “risky, dangerous and uncertain?”
I guess it all depends upon whom you’re depending
I once read that if you want to know what God is doing in your life, observe what the enemy is attempting. God is always doing the opposite.
We find ourselves in a “precarious” situation and the enemy shouts, “danger!” God whispers, “pray.”
Satan whispers, “Future uncertain!” God says, “I’m holding you through my favor.”
The devil boasts, “There’s no security,” and God reassures us, “You can depend on my will for you.”
The back story
Most of you know of the “precarious situation” Roger and I faced in September of 2016. Out of the blue (what I call a “wham!” moment) he suffered a massive pulmonary embolism which crushed his heart and caused cardiac arrest. He flat-lined for 26 minutes.
But maybe you don’t know the back story. During the two weeks prior to his event, I started to find feathers on my daily walks. I love feathers and always bring them home whenever I find them, but this was bizarre. It began with two feathers the first day, then a few more the next day. One day I brought home eleven feathers! I remember thinking, “Lord, either you’re trying to tell me something or the birds are in big trouble!”
Of course I immediately thought of Psalm 91:4, a Scripture many of us are praying in these “precarious” days. That Psalm is the most marked up page in my whole Bible.
The New Living Translation says:
But listen to this:
The Hebrew word for feather doesn’t mean just any feather; it’s a wing feather, the feather with which birds are able to soar.
When the Dr. said, “If Roger lives, he’ll probably have brain damage,” God reminded us of those feathers. “Remember the feathers,” He said. “Pray that Psalm. Speak the Word over Roger.”
So, that’s just what we did – for days and weeks we prayed promises from His Word and it was our armor and protection. God held Roger and our whole family under the shelter of his wings. He did NOT die, but lives and tells of the works of the Lord! The Dr.’s call him a miracle. (We call him Lazarus.)
Verse 2 of that Psalm says, “I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”
For two full weeks prior to this crisis, God had been assuring me, “You can trust me.”
Here’s what I discovered when I dug a little deeper into those words from verse 2:
- The word refuge means “a place of hope.”
- The Hebrew word for fortress means “a net.”
- Trust comes from a word that means, “to set one’s hope and confidence upon anyone.”
CONFIDENT. HOPEFUL. HELD.
That’s what it means to be in a precarious place – being confidently hopeful because you are HELD.
You can be confidently hopeful if you know you are being held Click To Tweet
I believe with all my heart that God wants to do more than just hide us under His wing until this season of uncertainty is over. He wants us to be so certain of His love and care that we SOAR.
Soar with Him, above the crippling fear, the cabin fever, the gloom and doom of the news, the tendency to be unproductive. Soar to new places in the Spirit, unexplored regions of creativity, unrivaled depths of worship.
Even in the midst of what the world says are precarious situations, we can trust in the Father because he is our place of hope – he’s a net to catch us when we fall.
Here’s one last treasure I found in His Word:
In Phil 4:19 when Paul says, “God will supply all of your needs, according to His riches…” the Greek word for SUPPLY means, TO CRAM A NET. He’s not just going to keep us safe in His net, friends; He’s going to fill it to overflowing with His riches!
Friends, God is challenging me and I challenge you this morning with this question: “What do we do when we’re in what the world calls a precarious situation?”
Do we wring our hands, or lift them? Do we whine and complain, speak death to our situations or do we speak life and pray the Lord’s words back to Him? Let’s pray and declare them together right now: