Save me from the lion's mouth
And from the horns of the wild oxen...
You have answered Me. —Psalm 22:20,21
Ford stood up. “We’re safe,” he said. “Oh good,” said Arthur. “We’re in a small galley cabin,” said Ford, “in one of the spaceships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet.” “Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word 'safe' that I wasn't previously aware of" (Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).
David, in Psalm 22, describes the crucifixion of Jesus in astonishing detail, but equally striking is Jesus' prayer from the cross: "Save me," and this assurance, "You have answered me."
God "answered” Jesus, yet He allowed Him to suffer and die. This is obviously some strange usage of the word "safe" that I wasn't previously aware of.
This odd juxtaposition of ideas shows up in another text: "(Jesus) in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death...was heard because of His godly fear (Hebrews 5:7). Yet, Jesus suffered and died.
Doesn't God save us when we call?
Indeed He does, but the salvation he brings to us is not necessarily physical deliverance from painful circumstances. "He can calm the storm with a whispered 'Peace be still'; He can settle the sea, but, it doesn’t mean He will."
More often then not, God's salvation comes in the form of grace to pass through the ordeal—as Jesus did—with trust and tranquility. Jesus "learned obedience by the things He suffered" And so must we. That’s one of the ways we’re “perfected” (Hebrews 5:8,9).
And so it comes to this: Would I rather be saved from my circumstances, or grow in faith, hope and love? The latter of course, for that's where authentic safety lies.