The Dangers that Lurk so Near

Gratefully, these boys were kept safe!

No one I know ever wakes up and begins their day with the thought, “Someone is going to cause me harm today.”

At least I don’t arise from my bed with a feeling of disquieting dread.

I usually wake up with thoughts that center on what is planned for the day and what I will need to get done. I don’t wake up with attitudes of worry or insecurity. I could. I really could.

Returning to South Africa only two and a half months ago, could give me reason to fear. Since our family’s return from our US home assignment, we have had one attempted break-in and two additional break-ins on our property in this brief time period. Since moving into this home almost two years ago, we have had seven different burglary events. To provide an even clearer picture, that is seven times in a 21 month period.

It happened again yesterday.

Our family had just said farewell to our mission pastors. They had stayed with us for the past five days and their visit had been a delight and an encouragement to our hearts and souls. Instead of attending church, our family decided to have ‘family church’ at home and view the first message in the “Follow” series by Andy Stanley. It was the middle of the afternoon.

Little did we know, nor could we hear or view, what was taking place outside on our property within the walls of our property’s defense system. We think two or three individuals broke through our security as they set their sights on our team vehicle that was parked in our driveway. The perpetrators shattered the glass of one of the back windows. One of the transgressors climbed inside and pilfered some items; including John’s personal and favorite jumper cables from our team vehicle. They stole all four hubcaps as well. No one saw them. No one heard them.

We discovered the damage to the Toyota Condor soon thereafter. We felt the familiar and demoralizing sucker punch to our gut. We had been violated once again.


It would be easy for me to be resentful and angry.

However, my thoughts and my feelings chose not to sink and settle in a pit of exasperation, outrage, and even trepidation. Instead, I chose to be thankful.


Did you catch what happened yesterday – as I described the burglary event?

Our family was inside our house as the perpetrators descended upon our property.

Although locked doors and security gates and brick walls separated us, danger lurked very near. Our family was completely unaware of our vulnerability and peril. Instead, our family’s attention was focused upon the message of what it means to follow Christ.

As our family talked and discussed this significant word, our God served as our Shield and Protector.

For the past few weeks, I have been studying the word, saint, in Scripture. I have found many examples of how the saints of the Most High are always under His watchful and guarded care.

Check it out:

He will guard the feet of the saints,

But the wicked will be silenced in darkness.

It is not by strength that one prevails. 1 Samuel 2:9 NIV


Love the LORD, all His saints! The Lord preserves the faithful…Psalm 31:23 NIV


For the LORD loves the just, and will not forsake His saints.

They will be protected forever….Psalm 37: 27-28a NIV


Let those who love the LORD, hate evil, for He guards the souls of His saints,

And delivers them from the hand of the wicked.  Psalm 97:10 NIV


For He guards the course of the just

And protects the way of His saints. Proverbs 2:8 NIV


Seven different times in this house, and two other times in our other house, our family has been shielded from harm during our ten+ years of mission life in South Africa. And these are the burglary attempts and break-ins that we know of! We are aware that there may have been other attempts. Yet, our God, has preserved us, protected us, guarded us, and watched over our family time and time and time again.

By the gracious, caring and protective hand of God, He has kept us safe from every evil and from every enemy.

We have no guarantees, of course, that we will not experience another violation – even a dangerous one. The menacing reality is that we cannot stop the trespassers. We can only slow them down with the security measures we have in place. Yet, we have the secure presence of mind to know and to trust that our God is with us in every difficult, perpetrating circumstance. It is He who is ultimately preserving our immortal souls. One of my Bible commentaries shared this affirming thought, “The saints – the soul lives – are His merciful people; precious in His sight.” No matter what challenges we may face on this earth, we are the saints of God. Our God knows what has happened to us, what is happening to us, and what will happen to us.  We choose to trust and follow Him. Ultimately, He will deliver us safely to His heavenly Kingdom.

This is why I choose to awaken each day with a sense of peace, assurance and gratitude as I trust in the care of my God for my family – even in a country where the crime rates are some of the highest in the world. I am His saint and He cares and watches over me as He does for all of His saints who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

So, my friends and fellow saints, how has your God cared and protected you from the dangers that lurk so near?

10 thoughts on “The Dangers that Lurk so Near

  1. Glad to hear that you and your family are safe once again! It must be rather exhausting.

    1. Hi Evan, thank you for taking the time to send your encouraging words. Things over here take longer than in the States to clean up and repair – so you are right when you say the process can be exhausting. They tried again last night. Boo! We’re making a new plan to up our security even more. Never a dull moment! Hope things are well for you!

      1. Argh! Good luck with the updates. Things are going pretty well for me. I’m at a science meeting right now across the country which is a little exhausting. The good part though is that I got to visit my uncle while I’m out here. It’s great to be able to contact the family that I still have! I’m feeling happy tonight.

      2. Hi Evan, I am so glad to hear that you were able to connect with your uncle! I hope you had a lovely time together!

  2. Sue Ann Johnson April 11, 2016 — 12:09 pm

    Thank you, Heather, and blessed to hear you are all safely protected once again. And will very soon discover how these latest ones were able to gain access. All prayers for you. We love you so.

    1. Thank you, Mom! We know how they are getting in – the challenge is to be one step ahead of them! Every time we make a change to our security, they find a way to work their way in…that is the nature of the malevolent beast here. We cannot necessarily stop them – we can only slow them down. I’m just grateful that our family is safe. Love you!

  3. Dear Heather, I am so grateful that you were safely inside. I too believe in God’s constant protection. As a friend said recently, we do not have a clue how many times God has protected us from various things. However, I would love to hear your thoughts: there are beautiful children of God that gets raped, hacked to death, or left permanently disabled. How do we then think of these things? Did God temporarily move his protection from them? Was it in His will for their lives?(I don’t believe this from a loving Heavenly Father) Were there some open door for satan, that he has a legal right to attack? Sorry to ask such a difficult question, but as the spiritual atmosphere in our country gets darker, these questions get more important to ask. Much love and Prayers for your family

    1. Hi Mariette, thank you so much for writing to me and sharing your thoughts and questions.

      You are right. There are terrible, heart-sore things happening all over the world and even in South Africa that make us grieve and ache over how fellow Believers and others outside of our faith are hurt and tortured.

      The protection that we have as saints of the Most High God is ultimately an eternal security. There are no guarantees on this earth that we are exempted from difficulties here. In fact, the truth of the matter is that as Believers we should expect trials, hardships and even persecution. This world is not our home – our home awaits in eternity. Our souls are being protected for there – not here.

      If we solely look upon what happens here and the tragedies that take place from a finite perspective, we would despair. There would be no point to our faith. No, ours is a faith that looks forward. It is Christ in us, the Hope of Glory.

      Did God take away His protection when some one was raped, hacked to death or left permanently disabled. No. He never leaves his saints – they are precious in His sight. And Christ Himself was present in the tragedy and loss – very near. The Holy Spirit was speaking words of comfort and care into the person as well. In such times it may be difficult to acknowledge the Presence of God. That does not mean that He is not present. His protection is offered always – and this protection is offered to our immortal souls. If we believe that God left us or denied His protection when something terrible happened, this is our incorrect perception.

      For me, Mariette, no matter what happens in life, my God is with me. Jesus is beside me, in fact hemming me in and working within me. His Spirit is constantly speaking to me and encouraging and strengthening me. This is the Hope we have in Christ!

      I hope this reply helps answer your question a bit. If not, write back and I’ll try to respond more.

      With love,

  4. Thank you for your reply, Heather. I guess you are right. When my sister and brother in law got highjacked, she said even though she was frightened and shaking violently, her spirit inside was calm. May God protect you and your loved ones. Love Mariette

    1. Thank you for your note Mariette. I am so thankful that your sister and brother-in-law were ultimately protected when they were in harm’s way. I hope they have recovered from that very frightening ordeal. May our Lord care for you and your family as well – meeting you right where you are and attending to your needs. With love, heather

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