“Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.” Psalm 25:20

I wondered about doing this. Really, the safe thing to do is wait until it’s all over, talk about what a struggle it all was, and how we were eventually victorious. We could look back and see God’s faithful hand at work. But there is something about the testing of our faith in the middle of trials that shows us how real our God is, how well we grasp and cling to him. We began to have problems with vandalism over two years ago (see this last post), and it has been frustrating, to say the least. This anonymous person has done a good deal of damage. It’s not simply the financial cost, of course, but also the loss of security that is unsettling.

On Friday, though, the anonymity was stripped away. We’ve been pretty sure we knew which family in our neighborhood was initiating this trouble. In fact, while Keith wired my tomato cages together (after our third incident), I watched discreetly from our bedroom window. Someone from the suspect family observed from an upstairs window in their house. This past Friday morning my husband found a dead rabbit which had been thrown in the corner of our yard, near my garden. It died from a head wound and appeared to have been stretched out. It was meant to instill fear. I felt a flash of anger, instead. How dare this person work to intimidate us?!

“He is the God who avenges me. . . who sets me free from my enemies.”  2 Samuel 22:47-49

Later that same afternoon, just three days ago, I backed out of the driveway to go meet a friend. A familiar white car flew around the corner, stopping parallel to me. A youngish man, roughly 25, sneered at me and started screaming. His face was defiant, hateful. My window was up, as the weather was hot. Although I know he speaks English, his words were completely incomprehensible. I was still, and shocked. For perhaps twenty seconds, he continued the tirade, then was off like a shot. A flash of anger, then great fear took me. This was face-to-face. This was serious. The police could do nothing without evidence. I shook while dialing my husband. He would confront them; I asked that he find a neighbor to go with him. It didn’t work out to have a witness, but Keith confronted a young man at the house about half an hour later, who confirmed that I had seen him, but that he was simply “waving and saying ‘Hi’.” Right. We now think he’s covering for his older brother.

We’re talking with our other neighbors. I see concern on their faces, both for us and themselves. No one else wants to be targeted. Police should be called if anything suspicious is seen. Yes, yes, we all agree to be watching.

I’ve been praying constantly since then. Sometimes about this; sometimes for others. The personal trial always moves back to the forefront. The anxiety and the nightmares have made this an exhausting weekend. Now in the middle of a three day fast (there go those trumpets!), I’m asking God to give me perspective, and asking what we should do in the face of evil. Some friends are encouraging us to move. It’s not that easy. I’m willing, but moving takes time, energy and a bit of cash. Not to mention the right buyer and seller. And it’s not necessarily the answer. We are doing what we know to do. But our God who sees all and has a greater perspective has more creativity, knowledge, guts and power than we could ever muster. We appreciate the concern and prayers deeply, but we must hear from our Father.

This morning, I had the strong sense that I was to turn to Psalm 29, that it was mine to take in and digest. It’s all about God’s power and glory.

“God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing; A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches. We fall to our knees – we call out “Glory!” Psalm 29:9 (The Message)

It really seems that he’s directing me to reform my thoughts. Fear, vengefulness and anxiety have no place. He is powerful. Dutch Sheets teaches that we appropriate and actually send out the Holy Spirit to do God’s will and God’s work as we pray. I’m choosing this morning to turn my attention to a more worshipful focus, while asking him to show his glory in this trying situation. Stand with us, if you will, and ask the Father to show himself to us, to this person or people harassing us, and to our entire neighborhood.

Oh, and by the way, Psalm 29 ends with:

“God makes his people strong. God gives his people peace.” v. 11 (MSG)

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