Burglary on Main (and the thief you can’t see)
They’d struck in the night, those thieves. Entering unlawfully, they’d taken what was not theirs, disappearing, then, as silently as they’d come.
The presence of the three armed officers said it was so. Said it had happened here in this small town, here in this place where community folks wave and smile, calling greetings. Right here where the baristas that work behind the counter know your name.
I’d seen him here before, that policeman behind the counter. His wife and I had become friends, thanks to our shared love of the coffee shop. I’d seen them there together, sharing breakfast, her dressed for work and him in civilian clothes.
But not today. Not now. Today, it was all business, gathering of evidence, dusting for prints, and looking for clues. And with it all, the process of catching those thieves was officially underway.
Watching them work, my thoughts turned to the recent outbreak of crime in Goshen, a neighboring town. A businessman killed. A shooting and a string of burglaries. A beloved college professor brutally (is there any other way?) murdered while protecting his wife during an apparent home invasion. Citizens nervous, gun sales spiking.
Burglaries. Shootings. Murder. Fear.
“The thief,” Jesus had said, “comes to steal, kill, and destroy.” The thief…
Ah, yes. The thief, that insidious liar who took so much, wrought such havoc, robbed folks blind with nary a fingerprint left at the scene…that thief, not of flesh and blood, was the real enemy, the real threat.
Wasn’t it joy he was after? Wasn’t it peace? Wasn’t it faith, more precious than all the silver and the bills in the drawer, that he sought to take?
Yes. Yes, it was. And yes, it is. That’s why Peter, His quick and impulsive friend, had warned us to “be sober, be vigilant,” alert, on guard for the adversary who walks about, seeking whom he may devour.
Two things this morning, dear ones. “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Your joy (and mine) will be attacked. And attacked. And attacked. So will our peace. And so will our faith. It is of utmost importance that we know the truth, that we put on the full armor of God, and that we resist him, “standing steadfast in the faith.”
This we know, “He that is in you is greater than He that is in the world.” This is how we stand. This is how we fight. This is how we win.
In Him, for Him, and through Him,