Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Want My Stuff Back!

Last month, someone broke into our home (the 2nd time in less than a year) and stole a lot of our things.  My first reaction was anger.  I wanted revenge and I wanted justice and I wanted them NOW!  I couldn't understand how someone could have the nerve to break into our home, and literally "go shopping" through all of our personal items and just take whatever they wanted.  Some of the items they took are irreplaceable and not even worth anything to anyone besides us.  But they wouldn't have known that until they took stock of all of the stuff they stole when they got back to wherever they were planning to take it.  They probably just threw some of those things away when they realized they had no use for them. 

I was really unnerved and disoriented for quite some time afterwards.  Then I slowly came out of the haze and realized that my reaction to the theft was like a setup from the enemy.  It was almost as if the whole thing was staged...a strategic plan to throw me off course.  To distract me away from the purposes and the love of God.  To feel justified, even, for ungodly reactions to an injustice done to us!  I immediately repented, apologizing to my kids for some of the things I had said in haste that could have caused them to think my actions were justified. 

One of the things I thought about later, when God was bringing peace back to the situation (at least in my mind), was a story I heard on a Bethel Church podcast.  It was about someone who had his briefcase stolen.  He was driving down the road in his car and just said out loud, "Lord, I want my stuff back!"  Suddenly, out of nowhere, his briefcase just landed on the car seat next to him!  That's what I'm talking about!  I figured I'd try that...and I said, "Lord, I want my stuff back!"  Nothing happened.  OK, I thought, maybe I didn't say it strong enough.  So I said it another time, and then a few more times over the next few days.  Nothing fell from the sky!  Well, maybe the thieves would decide to return our stuff to us, especially the things they had no use for.  That didn't happen either.    

Every so often, since the break in, we find out something else that was stolen that we hadn't noticed initially.  Just last week, I noticed that my carry-on was missing.  I don't even know what I had in there.  (We use our suitcases/carry-ons for storage since we don't have a lot of storage space in our house.)  I got angry again.  It was a struggle to release the anger.  A thought that was so unlike myself entered into my mind that it caused me to stop myself again and bring myself into repentance.  The thought was, "I don't have to forgive them because they haven't repented of what they did to us!"  I finally realized that, even though I had repented of the initial anger, I still hadn't let go.  I still just really wanted my stuff back and resented those who had stolen it.  After repenting again, I willingly forgave the people who broke into our house to steal.  I've forgiven them and released them into God's hands.  I pray that they can bring themselves into a place of repentance also.  I believe one of them (who admitted he broke into our house last year) is on the road to repentance, if he hasn't already repented.  It's a start for him, at least.  I'm so glad that I didn't allow anger to stand in the way of showing love to someone who is truly sorry for what they have done.  And I'm glad that I can even show love to those who aren't sorry.  

By the way, God has brought some of our stuff back to us.  Not in either of the ways that I thought it would happen.  In His own way, which is higher than my ways, God has spoken to the hearts of friends and family who have offered to replace some of the items that were stolen.  Thank you to all of you who have allowed His love to flow through you to us!  And I pray that His love would continue to flow through me to all of those He sends my way!

God bless you, 

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