When the term “fail-safe” is used what comes to mind is that failure won’t happen. If a system fails there is an added safety mechanism in the design or a back-up system so that the system can continue to work. The more complex the system, the more fail-safes are designed into the system. For instance many of the most important systems of a commercial airliner have two, three, and sometimes four backup (redundant) systems to insure the safety of the passengers and crew.
In 1978 Flight 173, a United Airlines DC-8 was approaching Portland, Oregon when the pilots noticed that a landing gear sensor showing that the wheels had locked into place was not on. The pilots were not sure if the problems was a sensor, or that the wheels had not locked into place. The FAA determined that while the captain was preoccupied with solving this problem, they failed to monitor the overall situation and ignored repeated warnings from the flight engineer about dwindling fuel levels. Unfortunately by the time the captain reacted to the low fuel problem, it was too late. The plane ran out of gas, quit and crashed short of the runway. Ten of the 189 people aboard were killed. No matter how many fail-safe systems are built into a jet, there is one system the jet is not prepared to backup; the error of the pilot.
I’m discovering a unique fail-safe system in my relationship with God. In fact it is better than a fail-safe system because the fail-safe is what God intended for me to use in the first place. God’s system is faith in His word, His commands, or His promises. Sometimes I think of it as a fail-safe because way too often I use it as a last resort. Here’s what I mean.
Almost every day I am confronted with some circumstance or situation which pops into my day which catches me off-guard i.e. someone’s criticism, a car tire goes flat, or another big project on a deadline. My go-to system usually falls into a few categories: a negative emotional response, determined and forceful will-power, or run-away for three hours while I “cope.” And if those systems don’t work I have my involuntary systems that automatically turn on: doping up on food or sweets, tossing and turning while pretending to sleep, or some other bad habit that makes me feel lousy.
It takes me awhile; sometimes just a few minutes and sometimes a couple of days before I remember a “fail-safe” system that never lets me down: my faith in the promise that God is active in my life at this very moment. Once I turn my attention to the “God-switch” on my dashboard I realize what a dope I’ve been. I switch it on and immediately the Holy Spirit of God brings to my mind all the true-realities of my life that are of far more significance than what is on my work schedule, or how to fit in a tire-change, or how not to slap someone for the nasty remark.
I remember that I am complete in Christ (Colossians), and that the fruits of the Spirit fully dwell in me (Galatians), and that absolutely nothing of worth or value is done in my life without doing everything in His name and in His power. The crazy thing is that it usually involves accepting that the nasty remark just is, the flat tire just is, and my loaded work schedule just is. They really are just neutral things and that the ‘non-neutral” thing is my response to the inconveniences. These things in the light of my life in Christ are really opportunities to exercise, test or realize my better reality: I am a child of God and He is transforming my heart, my mind and yes even my emotional responses into what is expected of me as a citizen of His nation of loved people.
Romans 8:9-11But you are not ruled by the power of sin. Instead, the Holy Spirit rules over you. This is true if the Spirit of God lives in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ. 10 If Christ lives in you, you will live. Though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life. The Spirit does this because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of the God who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you. So the God who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your bodies. He will do this because of his Spirit who lives in you.
New International Reader’s Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.