After bringing in my stuff from outside, I settled myself at my computer and started making the edits I had penciled in for my book. I was so immersed in my work that I drowned out just about everything else. However, when the sound of a siren grew closer, I snapped out of my writing trance and realized that it sounded as if the siren was in my neighborhood. Then it abruptly stopped. Weird!
Unable to contain my curiosity, I pulled my curtains back and peered out my office window. Then my knees began to shake. The road in front of my house was lined with police cars as far as I could see in both directions. Blue lights were flashing everywhere. Connecting streets were blocked off. And dozens of police and SWAT team officers were marching down the street with huge rifles in their hands. It was like a scene out of a movie, but my pounding heart assured me that this was no movie. This was real!
I ran around and started locking doors while calling up Jason. "There's something bad going on in the neighborhood!" I cried, peeking out the window in the foyer. I described the situation to him and said in my trembling voice, "I'm so scared."
The scene outside the window continued for several moments. The police officers called to the criminal through a bullhorn, demanding that he come out of the house with his hands up. I don't know how long it was before he finally came out. For me, time was standing still. But the criminal was read his rights and placed in the back of one of the police cars. After that, it took hours before the scene of the arrest was free of police officers.
From what we later discovered, the man who was arrested was wanted for several crimes, most of which were drug related. Wonderful! A wanted felon just three doors down from my house. That's just fabulous!
As Jason and I discussed the events of the day, I said, "I knew this neighborhood was getting bad, but I had no idea it was this bad. I wish we could move. I don't want to live here anymore. I just don't feel safe." I meant every word, but Jason reminded me of something that my fear had caused me to forget. God is in control, no matter where I live. Whether I live in my current neighborhood or out in the woods somewhere miles from the nearest neighbor, God is in control. He can protect me from anyone and anything if He so chooses. I am never alone!
Does that mean that I no longer want to move? No. There are a number of reasons I would love to be able to move to another location, and yes, safety is one of those reasons. But I am reminded that I do not have to live my life in fear, locked up in my house, afraid to walk to the mailbox or go for my morning prayer walks. I cannot allow fear to control me. That's wrong. Remember, God said that He did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7) A sound mind is one that is not ruled by fear. A sound mind is one that trusts in God's provision and protection. A sound mind doesn't advocate taking unnecessary risks, but it does urge us to live life to the fullest, and we cannot do that if we're locked inside, fearing the world and all the baddies out there.
The psalmist said, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee" (Psalm 56:3). I would like to say the same. How about you?