This morning, while shoveling away the powdery effects of our first snowstorm, I noticed a gray van slowing down on the street near where I was working. After stopping his vehicle, the driver jumped out and asked if I had seen anything unusual in the early morning hours just past. His garage had been broken into, again and he was hoping for witnesses or clues. Apparently the robbers had cut through the chains that held their bikes, loaded up as much as they could carry, and rode off into the darkness on the very bikes they were stealing. We could see their trail in the snow on the street in front of us. His inquiry was part question and part warning. Another house had been hit, a reality many of us have experienced while living in this neighborhood with garages on the alley. Fear arises immediately when this kind of news gets around. Memories pop up of past thieves and their plundering ways and stories abound. Like when our next-door neighbor chased looters by jumping in his car wielding a baseball bat. I think he got his stuff back. Or when boys in white tee shirts were seen in the alley craning their necks to get information about back yards and garages.
My favorite story of course is our own. Brian and I woke up one morning at 5:03 to a loud noise that we couldn't quite place. We peered out the windows but couldn't see anything so naively we headed back to bed. An hour later we found a broken window in our garage door and a ransacked car, but nothing stolen. Our bigger fear showed up when we realized that the noise we heard earlier was the dropping of our cellar door, indicating that the intruders had opened it, slipped down the stairs and tried to open the tightly locked door into our basement. When finding it immovable they bounded back up the stairs, exiting quickly while letting the heavy door slam behind them. Were they really thinking of entering our house while we were asleep at 5:03 in the morning?? It's a bit unnerving to think about.
We live in a broken world and we fight against the injustice of someone coming and taking what doesn't belong to them. We could hardly believe it when, several years earlier, our house was broken into. We lost a computer, TV, cameras, binoculars, my jewelry box and even candy in the closet. But Brian and I refuse to abide in fear. We replaced what was stolen but we will not jump at every noise and spend time worrying about the possibilities of future intrusion. In Joshua 1:5 God told Joshua that He would never leave them or forsake them. I believe His promise is meant for us also. He didn't mean we won't have trouble, but He will be with us in those troubles.
I'm sorry for our neighbors' losses. I admit to often glancing up to see if our bikes are still hanging in their place when I drive our car into the garage and I shutter at the thought of coming around the corner to face someone who means us harm. But I do not live in fear of what might happen. Losses can and will come. But we have a guard that battles with us no matter what kind of foe we encounter. I am confident of Him.