Dear person who broke into my house twice in three weeks,
First, let’s face the facts here. I don’t know who you are. I don’t even know if you are an individual or a group of two or more people. I have a strong sense that, whoever you are, you are responsible for both break-ins, but I don’t know that for sure. You are probably not going to read this. So, this is all an exercise for my benefit and hopefully for the benefit of my blog readers. There, I’m glad we got that out of the way.
You have taken a lot from me. I know the handful of electronics you grabbed during the first incident and the $8.00 you removed from a purse on the second incident probably were not the most lucrative grabs you have ever made. So that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Nor am I talking about the additional money I had to pay to make repairs to my home on these two occasions, as well as security upgrades. (No, I won’t go into any details about what kind of upgrades I made. That would be like Janet Napolitano broadcasting American security measures on Al-Jazeera.)
All in all, it wasn’t a small sum of money that I had to pay to recover from your intrusions, but that is not my point here. When I say you have taken a lot from me, I mean that you have taken away from my family our formerly relaxed approach to the security of our home and our life in it. You have taken away our ability to leave our doors unlocked for any significant amount of time. You have taken away our ability to go to bed without running through a mental checklist. You have taken away our ability to ignore noises we hear at night. In short, you have taken away our ability to live at any time in a mode of complete relaxation. Because you have demonstrated a willingness to invade homes (not only ours but others in the neighborhood) when their occupants are present, you have caused us to be on alert at all times.
I think it goes without saying that I pray for the police to catch you soon, and that I have been an active participant in their investigations. I want you to be stopped, not only for the sake of my family and my neighbors, but also for yours as well. The danger you pose to me does not begin to approach the danger that this unrepentant sin poses to your soul. I pray that God, in his mercy to us, will restrain you by having you locked up. And if he does so, it will be an act of mercy to you, offering you the chance to repent and find forgiveness through his crucified and risen Son.
But my main purpose in writing is not to deliver the (admittedly unsurprising) news that I want you stopped. It is, rather, to let you know that this new mode of vigilance in which I am living has become for me one of the most teachable moments I have had in a while. You see, quite often over the last couple of weeks I have caught myself thinking about how much I wish I didn’t have to live this way. I wish I could relax in the (false?) sense of security that I had before this chapter of our life began.
But then I realize what I am doing. By wishing for a complete sense of security, I am longing for a blessing that can only be experienced in the age to come. I am longing to carve out a little space in this fallen world that is not affected by sin. I am feeling a sense of entitlement to something to which I, a sinner in a fallen world, am not entitled. God never promised me immunity from earthly dangers like you.
But he did promise me that one day I will live in a city that is so far from the reach of dangers that its gates never have to be shut (Rev. 21:24-25). He has commanded me to lay up treasures in this city, where thieves like you have no power to break in and steal (Matt. 6:19-20). And he has assured me in the meantime that nothing in all of creation—including you—will be able to separate me from his love, given to me in Christ (Rom. 8:35-39).
God is for me (Rom. 8:31). Who can be against me? You have tried, but there really is no contest. You are fighting against the omnipotent Creator and Lord of all things. You are going to lose, unless you give up now and switch loyalties. But in the meantime, I want you to know that what you have taken from me—my ability to let my guard down and relax—has actually given me a greater longing for Heaven, and a greater sense of how much it will dwarf the sufferings of this age (Rom. 8:18). God is using your sin against me to help me kill sin in myself, the sin of being too invested in this present life. That makes me more than a conqueror through him who loved me (Rom. 8:37).
So the next time I catch myself longing for the ability to let my guard down and relax, I will remember once again that there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb. 4:9), and I will long to enter it all the more. In the meantime, I rest in the only way appropriate to this present evil age: by faith in the promise of God.