He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.”
I have had a rough time writing this past week or so due to the busy holiday season. I hope you all had a blessed time of Thanksgiving with your family and friends. It seems that time passes much too quickly when we are all together having fun and making memories. We all had a great time relaxing and playing together with my family out at the farm once again, and I am anxious to spend time with my in-laws during the Christmas holidays. I never ceased to be amazed at the blessing of family.
As always, it is tough returning to the “real world” of work and taking care of those daily responsibilities that tend to weigh you down. In the midst of taking care of one such responsibility, I had the sobering experience of having my car broken into in the parking lot of a brand new store just a few miles from my home. I have only had my car about a month, and it is one of the nicest ones I have ever owned. I am especially proud of it because we were blessed to get such a great deal on it giving us much more car for less money.
I had only been in the store for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, and I was not prepared for what I found when walking back out to my car. As I looked up and saw the shattered glass, my mind could not comprehend what I was seeing. I even argued with myself that it couldn’t be my car. As I got closer and the reality sunk in as to what had happened. I looked into the front passenger seat to find shattered glass where my makeup bag and lunch kit had been only a few moments before. My console and glove compartment were open, and items were strewn all over. Broken glass had made deep scrratches in the paint on my passenger door.
I knew I had made a mistake by leaving those items out where they were visible, but a makeup bag and a lunch kit? Walking back into the store trembling I faintly remembered earlier having seen an older white car with its break lights on as I was moving toward my parking space. I stopped briefly thinking it was about to back out. When it didn’t, I proceeded to park in the spot next to the car. I also remembered looking over wondering what happened to the two individuals I could have sworn were there just a few moments before. I suppose they were ducking down as to not be noticed.
A female eye witness had also noticed the car as well as a man getting out and following me into the store. She had apparently gone in right after the man and came out before him. She saw the man come out of the store a few moments before me, get into the white car and leave. It was then she noticed my broken car window and stayed around to tell what she had seen. I was told that he was most likely the lookout. Store employees reviewed the security tape from cameras inside the store. The man had been smart enough to walk into the store with a cap on with his head bowed low so that his face was hidden. Unfortunately, the store does not have security cameras installed in the designated parking area where I parked.
As the police officer began taking the report, he firmly reminded me of how dangerous of a situation I could have been in. He also began relaying statistics of how these types of crimes are on the rise. People are thinking less and less of taking from others The officer’s frustration was evident with the overwhelming task of attempting to protect citizens and make a difference while watching the growing problem.
The theives probably do not know or care, but the crime they committed in less than 10 minutes caused $1,000 worth of damage not to mention the value of the contents taken from the car.
Having said that, I am so blessed that was the extent of the damage. The results could have been far worse. I am also grateful for God giving me a direct revelation of His love and guidance through an individual who chose to allow Him to be seen through her that night. While we were waiting for the police to arrive, the store manager came out to have me fill out paperwork their store requires in situations like this. I began crying as the reality was setting in on me as to what had just happened. The manager put her arm around me, and I will never forget what she said. She looked me in the eye and firmly said, “Be thankful, God is trying to tell you something through this.” This made the tears flow harder as I wondered what I was doing that would cause Him to feel the need to tell me something in this way. She smiled kindly and repeated the words. This time they took on a different meaning in my heart. She went on to say, “God does not allow anything to happen to us in order to harm us, but for our good.’
Since that time I have battled with shock, disbelief, anger, and feeling violated. In the midst of it all, however, I keep coming back to what God told me through that precious lady. He is trying to tell me something, and whatever it is will be for my good. This has allowed me to earnestly pray for those individuals. I pray they will be caught and held accountable for their own sake and for the sake of justice. I pray that God will bless them by sending someone into their lives to share Christ’s love and mercy. I pray that God would change their hearts to be givers instead of takers. I pray for God’s protection around my home since they have some of my personal information.
Most of all, however, I praise God for the protection and comfort He showed to me on a night when I was walking through a “sun-scorched land”. He “strengthened my frame” at a time when I felt so discouraged. I am just a normal person with faults who makes mistakes like anyone else. If He will do this for me, He will surely do the same for you.
The experience is in the memories of togetherness and laughter from days gone by. It is in the feeling the heart remembers when seeing the chair in a spot occupied just a couple of years ago by a spirit that lives long past the physical body where it once was housed. It is in the memory of a conversation, a joke, a smile. It is the sheer continuity of family, of meeting once again as a cohesive unit joined not only by blood, but by love. It is the strength that comes from the past, and the hope that shines for the future.
“Dear Lord, thank You for traditions that bring us together year after year to renew and build upon family relationships that mean so much. Thank You for my family and for the joy they bring to my life. God, please protect this and so many other families who understand this precious and valuable relationship. Please also be with those who have been divided for one reason or another. Shower them with Your love and peace, and if possible, let them find one another once again. Be with those who are in situations where it is best to go their separate ways. Fill their lives with the peace that only You can bring. Help us all to trust You for our family’s future, and may we never allow anything to destroy the love and respect we share. In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Way of Love