There are many things in life that you hear about happening to other people, but never imagine actually happening to you.
Like waking up on a “normal” Monday morning and walking outside to your car only to find that it’s gone. Yes, my car got stolen along with my boyfriend’s truck right outside of my house in the early hours of yesterday morning.
I find that in these moments, we have two choices. We can choose to let this be the end of the world and choose panic, sadness, anxiety, etc. OR we can choose in these moments to see the circumstance through eternal eyes and CHOOSE joy, contentment, and hope.
About six months ago, I was a completely different woman. I was someone who was still very much a slave to fear and anxiety on a daily basis. I was a woman who focused far too much on material objects and not nearly enough on her Heavenly Father.
Fast forward to today, and amidst this terrible circumstance I can confidently and honestly say…I am hopeful.
I have learned so much in the past 24 hours since the vehicles were stolen. I have learned that material things really cannot have a hold on you when Jesus is the source of you fulfillment and satisfaction. I have learned that when bad things happen to us, we often pine for justice. We want the “bad guys” to get caught and for revenge to happen. But through this experience, I have learned that God loves righteousness way more than we do and that ultimately, He is the one who gets a say in how that will play out.
Maverick and I decided to spend the afternoon going through scripture together yesterday instead of dwelling in the sadness of our current circumstances. We came across this verse in Isaiah, Chapter 61: Verses 8: “Because I, God, love fair dealing and hate thievery and crime, I’ll pay your wages on time and in full.”MSG
This was very comforting for me to read. It was such a beautiful reminder that God is on our side. He sees and hears our prayers and He wants to restore and redeem all that is stolen from us.
I think it is very important for Christians to always look at earthly circumstances and happenings through spiritual eyes. And looking at this circumstance through spiritual eyes revealed to me that this act of evil was an attack on Maverick and I. It was a sad and very pathetic attempt by the enemy to try and shake our faith.
Friends, we cannot let the enemy win in situations like this. He is always looking to steal from us…whether that be spiritually, physically, or emotionally.
We hear in John 10:10 that, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Looking at this current situation through an earthly lens would be both detrimental and completely devastating. That car was my surprise 16th birthday present. I spent almost 8 years of my life driving it all over the state and beyond. It brought me through many nights spent crying all the way home and it heard my most intimate prayers spoken, sometimes yelled out loud. I know it sounds completely silly and ridiculous, but that car was such a significant part of my life. It was old and banged up and had various issues (one of which being no AC) which drove me nearly crazy this past hot Colorado summer. But it had character and it was special and I truly miss it. I had a very profound realization while driving to work this morning. I was blessed to receive a rental car from my insurance to drive until the claim is settled on my jeep. It is brand new, has AC, and is probably the nicest car I have ever driven…
But as I was driving out of my neighborhood this morning I found myself realizing that its just another car. Yes, it may be clean and new and shiny. But nothing new or fancy or special will ever replace my old 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the “God Bless Johnny Cash” sticker on the glove compartment.
Material things mean nothing at the end of the day.
Memories mean everything.
So I learned a lot through this circumstance.
1.) Appreciate every blessing you have to the fullest. Don’t wish you had something newer, or better, or prettier. Whether that be a car, a house, a new outfit, etc. Because take it from someone who has learned the hard way…the search for material fulfillment will ALWAYS come up dry.
2.) Rejoice always. Through trial. Through loss. We are called to rejoice through every circumstance because our hope isn’t in this world. Its in Jesus. And guess what? HE ALWAYS WINS.
3.) Pray for our enemies. The strangest evidence of the true heart transformation my heart has gone through in the past six months was revealed to me this morning as I found myself praying through tears on the way to work for the people who stole my car and the people who stole my boyfriend’s car. I prayed that SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY through this circumstance that they would find Jesus and that their lives would be transformed. Weird, I know. It seems so illogical. But Jesus calls us to love our enemies. Yes, even our enemies.
Yesterday while reading scripture with my boyfriend, He said something that just stuck with me so hard. He said, “You know, I was thinking about how awful this circumstance would be if I didn’t know God.”
You guys, Maverick had his entire LIFE packed in that truck. He was in the process of moving to Colorado so everything he owned was inside of it. Sentimental things. Important things. EVERYTHING he owned materially. Yet, yesterday morning I got to watch this amazing man of God rejoice amidst trial. I got to see the true meaning of faith because he not ONCE wavered from praise and hope and love.
We can all learn from someone like that. We have the privilege and blessing of having endless access to peace in any circumstance because we have our Heavenly Father to call on. I feel much more burdened and sad for the people who stole our cars than I do for Maverick and I. They are lost, but we are found.
I feel so blessed to be found this morning.
So let me close with these verses from James Chapter One.
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
9-11 When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
13-15 Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.
16-18 So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.”