Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stranger in the night 1 Peter 5:8

A few years ago, I had an encounter at the baseball field that left me with a cliche I often use now---"My kids, My bubble."  The story is one of those "why do things like this happen to me?" moments. Abi was probably 7 at the time if not a little younger. We were playing rec ball several nights a week. There is a tree all the kids love to climb at the ball park -- a few nights in a row a stranger approached Abi at the tree and talked to her. One night she offered Abi hot chocolate....having trained Abi on the "don't take candy from strangers rule," she was able to globalize this and realize that includes hot chocolate. Stranger had asked Abi her age on another occasion and asked Abi to go with her to see someone where she is sitting on another occassion....ummm TMI solicited from my child.

Before the next game, Abi and I had a conversation that included warnings about the stranger.  This included being vigilantly aware of her surroundings at the ballpark and know mommy is always watching.  If said stranger approaches you again, tell her you are not allowed to talk to her, walk away, come to mommy, run, scream....anything necessary to avoid said stranger.  Remembering and KNOWING mommy has her eyes on you so all the while I will be "in route!"  (AKA steps away).  Being the predictable stranger she was...the lady approaches Abi once again the next time we are at the ball park. Being the social worker mom that I am, radar immediately kicks in and I begin to approach.

Stranger (we never name her--after all we don't want a relationship with her) pulls out her phone to take Abi's picture. I approach and say "excuse me, can I help you?" She says NO! "That's funny because this is my daughter you have been talking to and just took a picture of," I say. She begins to tell me that she tried to get my daughter to go with her the night before (yes, I know!). She goes on to say Abi looks like a child that died and she wanted to show Abi to "so and so" (another name that I didn't process...after all, irrelevant 'cause "she ain't goin' no where with said stranger," said under my breath in my south Georgia dialect). I say (where I can be heard yet calmly), "well you are scaring her and I would like to ask you not to talk to her anymore." 

With rage and fury, stranger asks me, "do you think I am a child molester or something....I just wanted to show her to someone." With less calmness, I say "well since you mentioned it, I have no idea if you are a child molester or not but I know this are not getting near my child." Of course, Abi is clutched in my arms at this point and most games have stopped so all eyes are on us. She yells again wanting to know what my problem is ....she says, "do you plan on keeping your child in a bubble her whole life?" (NOTE she was 7??)....I respond "my child, my bubble..." and I walk away. Looking back, I had so much to say to this woman...who do you think you are? What kind of crazy person in this day and age approaches a child and offers them a drink or ask a child to go with a stranger...takes pictures etc..? Do you know what I do for a living??  And the list of my thoughts goes on and on.   I of course never struggle to find my words...which is not always a good thing. But for some reason on this night, God saw fit to give me restriaint, not ruin my testimony as dozens looked on.

The lesson in this has resounded in my mind over and over....the practical one to keep my children in my bubble for as long as I can but then there is one more spiritual.  1 Peter 5:8 tells us to " Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

I think of this story and how my mommy senses knew to offer warnings to my child.  I had to depend on her to remember lessons I had taught her and the need for her to continue to trust I was watching/protecting her.  The Lord is watching over us, He has given us lessons/warnings in scripture to be aware and alert of what is happening around us. God (way more than me as a mom) knows all that is going on in His children's lives. He desires to protect us --- He has a bubble He wants to keep us in--- His arms....His ways...His will.  Not to stifle us but to protect us.   This is way safer than the arms of the "stranger"--- the devil--- who may offer us something that looks good on the surface but once he gets his snares in us it will cost us more than we want to pay.

The issue is we have to be alert and aware to know the warnings and dangers.  We do this by being in God's word faithfully so we know what scripture warns us of and know what it means to be safe in the Saviors arms.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us "All scripture if God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."  We can't wait until we are in a trial to begin to read God's word---we need to be equipped ahead of time.  We need to be prepared for what is in front of us by being studied in God's word. Oh reading it at any time is good...but if we know going in to trials who is in control, we will save ourselves a lot of heartache.

If Abi had not known before hand that mommy was a watchdog and a  protector...she would have still been safe because my eyes were always on her...but it made for a settled spirit in her because the fear was not there.  So not knowing does not change God's protective hand but not knowing does make room for fear.  God desires us to trust in Him and to KNOW Him....Psalm 91 NIV is a good place to end today....

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. 9 If you make the Most High your dwelling-- even the LORD, who is my refuge-- 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. 14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Prayers for the stranger in the night to flee from you because when you call on HIS (God's name) the stranger will have no power over you!  

No comments:

Post a Comment