Breaking In

We had our first break in on Friday and it was as close to a non-event as that kind of thing could be…at least externally. Nothing was actually taken and it was just the exterior door to our basement/crawl space from which the would-be thieves removed the lock from the door frame. I was shaken and jolted into remembering exactly where it is that I now live…because no other neighborhood in America ever has break ins? Ha ha, no, but remembering that my yard isn’t always considered my own exclusive domain by crack heads and curiosity seekers. I let my neighbors know and they were all disturbed that it happened, except for the neighbors just behind my house. On the other side of our back fence is an alley across which sit a huge yellow “house” and a section 8 rental. The large yellow structure has identified itself publicly as a barber shop in the past, but is apparently also a car repair lot and I’ve heard it is also a recording studio. It is some and none of the above. “Pharmaceutical sales” is the best guess of my neighbors…and nobody thinks they are trading the FDA approved kind. So, I of course made a visit over to see them to formally introduce myself, since I do try to wave from our back yard when I think I might catch their attention. Not surprisingly, nobody there saw anything and many there apparently couldn’t see me standing right in front of them either. The next morning, one of the guys who hangs out there and seems to like us sent word through another neighbor who considers herself our family, that they don’t want me around, they don’t like us being here and they think I’m way too friendly. (Which, I’m assuming means “too familiar” rather than too outgoing and nice.) Nobody just goes up and talks to them like that, she told me. Don’t interact with them, I mean it baby, you can’t trust any of them. Ugh. There are those who move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they have stolen. They drive away the orphan’s donkey and take the widow’s ox in pledge. They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding. Job 24:2-4 My friend Tucker came over to give us some landscaping ideas and made the point that trees always win, always. You can’t grow grass or hope for other things to ever survive against trees. Trees always win. In this neighborhood, it seems that fear always wins. Listen to what Gary Haugen, the president of International Justice Mission, has said. “The oppressor knows that the primary reason we do nothing is because we have lost any hope of making a difference.” (Good News About Injustice, p67) There is an understandable resignation around here, and apparently the quicker we learn to submit to it, the better off we will be. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 Over and over, the Bible reminds me that not only should I not be so shocked by the power and prevalence of evil, but I can expect to see it in a world which actually needs a Redeemer. And a Redeemer we have! He has come and has conquered. He has torn down the dividing wall of hostility between us and our Creator and therefore between us and each other. He is with us always, even until the very end of the age. Whom then should I fear? His Kingdom is breaking in, first and foremost to my very own heart. His Lordship gets to replace the Lordship of both the well intentioned friends and the potentially hostile bullies, both who have a game plan they’d like me to follow. I am to have no other gods before Him, even the much advocated god called “common sense”. Does this mean I leave my children out in the yard alone for hours? Do I set my silver on the front porch when I head out to run errands? Of course not, and exactly how would those actions point to the person and work of Jesus anyway? He does not call His children to take heart and to have courage for courage’s sake or a happy heart, but when it is to stand or walk or act or speak in pursuit of the peace and power and light and truth of the Gospel, the person and work of Jesus. God’s Lordship is starting to break through and into my own stubborn, self-serving and self-reliant heart. And thankfully, unlike whoever attempted to break in our house, the alarm sirens of my strong will and resistance will never deter His transforming work there. He had to bring this sinner to a place where I can see more clearly my preference for self-preservation over Gospel advancement, my demand to be served rather than to serve and my trust in man’s words more than His Word. He comes in and removes these idols from my white knuckled grip and replaces them with nothing less than Himself! This is my Father’s world, and oh how I hope I will one day live more fully and freely in that reality. Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:16-20

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