“I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.” Psalm 77:11-14, ESV
It was a chilly September day, my husband was on a business trip, and the girls and I were home with a long list of lessons to cover. As the afternoon neared, I decided to grant my youngest daughter’s plea to begin decorating for fall. This would be a great job for her to tackle while I was finishing up with my oldest. I went out to our garage and seeing that the bin was on a shelf above our vehicle, I opened the garage door, backed out our truck, got the ladder, and retrieved the bin. As I was heading back to the driveway to pull our vehicle back in, a neighbor who I am only familiar with by our comings and goings appeared, clearly on his way home. He stopped in front of our driveway to ask if my husband was home. He went on to tell me that a man the authorities had been looking for for several weeks (for a murder and bank robbery) had been seen at a casino near our house and was somewhere in the near vicinity. Helicopters were circling around (which I could now clearly hear) and a SWAT team had been out in force. He told me to close our garage door, lock all if our doors, and stay inside. My youngest heard enough of this to know something was happening that required quick action and raced inside to alert her sister.
After pulling our vehicle in, I went around the house making sure all of our doors were locked. When I went downstairs, my oldest daughter was now informed enough to show a look of panic and fear. After briefly explaining what our neighbor had told me and that we had nothing to be afraid of, my youngest asked if I knew what he looked like. Seconds later, I had a picture of him pulled up on our computer.
At that moment, I remembered that I hadn’t checked our sliding door leading to our backyard. Our school room is in our lower level and throughout the day, we let our dog out that door. When I approached, I found it to not only be unlocked, but ajar. “Awesome,” I thought. “How long has that been open? I hope no mice snuck in.” (Which they had… . Random piles of dog food would be found around the house as well as in all of our winter boots that we would continue to find over the next few months). I shut the door, bolted it, and went to remind the girls to shut that door completely when I heard a strong knock on our front door. Our dog went ahead of me with his loud, ferocious bark. I told the girls to stay put while I went to see who it was. As I neared the main level, I saw a man’s side profile standing on our porch; he looked very similar to the man on the computer screen downstairs. Every part of me was trying to convince myself it was someone who just looked like him; there had been, after all, several contractors working on our house over the past two weeks. It is probably one of them, I tried to convince myself. I quickly turned around on the steps and went back down to the girls (thankful that he had not seen me), leaving our dog to bark and growl relentlessly. The girls were standing exactly where I left them; I explained that there was a man I did not recognize at our front door and that we would wait for him to leave before going upstairs. After several more knocks, our dog grew quiet and came back downstairs. This to me was the signal that the stranger had left. Two minutes later, I saw this same man approaching our sliding door. Now I had a clear look at him. There was now no doubt in my mind that this was the wanted, dangerous man we had been educated about in the last 15 minutes and he was heading toward our sliding door (that had been ajar just moments before). When our eyes met, I couldn’t get away fast enough; I was overcome with panic. What I calmly had told the girls would not happen was happening right before my very eyes. I called the girls to my sides and we raced up to the master bedroom where I would call my husband and then the authorities (in that order– don’t ask me why other than my husband’s voice is that of audible reason and calmness. I wanted him to somehow make it go away). His voice of reason is what I got as he told me to call the police. When they arrived, they scoured our backyard and those neighboring ours with no luck. Two weeks later, he was found about 5 miles from our house and is now in prison.
Truth: I am safe
God taught me this truth that day in so many ways:
– If my daughter had not been adamant that we decorate for fall that day, I would have not have opened our garage door, backed out our vehicle and had a the 2-minute conversation with our neighbor (who told my husband later on that he had been at work on a conference call and was so overcome with a feeling to go home to his wife, he got off the call and quickly drove home). I would not have known to lock all of our doors, specifically the one in our lower level that was open and ajar. I also would have opened the door when he knocked had I not have been alerted. We live in a safe area.
-If this same extremely detail-oriented daughter of ours would not have asked what he looked like, I would not have known it was him when he arrived at our house.
The Lord provided me with every piece of information I needed only moments before I needed the information or promptings. He kept us safe.
I am reminded of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were told they would be cast into a burning fiery furnace if they refused to worship the golden image set up by Nebuchadnezzar. Their response was this: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18. They were protected by God in that furnace that was so hot, the soldiers who opened the doors to throw the three men in were killed instantly by its heat. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, on the other hand, walked out completely unharmed; not even a hair on their arms had been touched by the flames. (Daniel 3, NLT)
There are times in life when we are not safe; when God does not come to our immediate rescue. The recent shooting at an Oregon community college that ended in death for those who said they were Christians is proof of that. However, they are safe: They have reached their permanent home where they will live forever in the presence of their Savior and King and where sin will no longer touch them.
At the end of the day, all who believe and call on the name of the Lord are saved and safe forevermore be it in this life or the one that is to come. We are called to bring Him glory in all we do in this life, regardless of what comes from it. Either way, we are safe.
“The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14, ESV