I have to confess to enjoying the odd episode of property porn. That's effectively what it is. A visual feast of coverting another person's house. "Escape to the County", if you don't know it, is a BBC show where a couple are taken round 3 rural properties, within a budget and location that they have set, to see if one might become their new home. My wife and I will only watch episodes hosted by Jules. This is because he reminds us so much of a friend of ours that it feels like an hour with an old chum!
One of the reasons that people want to move to the country is to improve their quality of life. To enjoy the peace and quiet of their surroundings. To leave the hustle and bustle of the urban sprawl. Sometimes people move just as they are starting a family, because they believe it will be a better place to bring up their children. Extraordinarily I heard recently of how some people are now thinking about moving to the country out of fear.
I was chatting to a young man at church on Sunday who had just been to a 30th birthday bash with some friends from University. He said that a number of them were thinking of moving to the country. One bloke in particular said that he was going to move from Birmingham to the country for the safety of his children. This wasn't to avoid the busy and dangerous roads or the poor air quality. This was to escape terrorism!
The terrorist attacks of the last weeks, combined with the lack of political stability after the general election, have literally left some people looking to make a run for a rural bolt hole. In an attempt to feel in control of their circumstances they are moving to Little Piddling in the Puddle, because nothing ever happens there!
They clearly have not listened to the Radio 4 series - The Archers! If they had they would know rural life is risky and risqué.
One of the hardest lessons that I have had to learn (and am still having to learn daily) is that I can't control my circumstances. In fact I can't control my family or even myself! Not feeling in control is what makes us afraid. And yet the Bible time and time again shows us that our fears are conquered when we admit that God is in our control and that he is for us.
Psalm 46 famously puts it like this:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
And trusting God in the face of life's fears is not irrational. Because in his Son, Jesus, he has shown that he both rules of his creation and cares deeply for his people.
So rather than trying to find security in the countryside, why not find it by trusting Christ.