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?