Rome is beautiful: chaotic, colorful, fast. Full of gusto. Poetic and bright. Not to be missed.
I remember walking the uneven cobblestone: order evolved into delightful disorder: the alleys blurred with lights and vines, blushed with color, bustled loud with life and laughter.
I have only one regret over our trip to Italy: fear. I let fear stow away in my suitcase, steal away my wonder. We flew to Rome a month after the horrific attacks in Paris, and they said that the ruins of Rome would be next. Jacob and I went back and forth on whether or not to go. We had worked hard for this trip. But– our safety was priority, right? Eventually we decided: fear cannot color our lives; fear cannot dictate our decisions. So we hopped on the plane, hoped for the best, took off to Amsterdam, and then landed in Rome.
The night we arrived, we walked to the Trevi Fountain. Its water glowed blue and my breath taken, but– the crowd gathered close. So many people. So many languages. So much unfamiliarity. My head spun on a swivel– vigilant– constantly seeking the danger that may or may not have existed.
Thinking back on that evening I am reminded: do I really trust God? Do I really believe He is Who He says He is? Because if I do– then fear is a lie. And because fear is a lie, I can lie still. I can rest in the green pastures of His peace, His promise, His presence. The search for security is in Christ alone. Our safety rests only in the nail-scarred palm of the Savior. The world and its leaders can promise protection, but they cannot guarantee our safety. But God– “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4).
I remember pressing my hand upon the cold, smooth marble of the Coliseum, running my fingers under and over the grooves in the ancient stone. It was a stunning yet sobering sight: many Christians died martyrs here. And as I stood in the place where Caesar sat I wondered, “Why didn’t God protect them?” But, when Jesus died, He did. His arms stretched wide on the cross– His arms covered humanity with love– His sacrifice stretched sanctuary over all who believe: “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
And so looking back I think– the tighter I tried to grasp on to my safety, the faster it fell through my fingers. Only when I truly trust God can I walk in the freedom of perfect love– which “casts out fear . . . and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18).