Mar. 11, 2015

Psalm 64:1

Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy.

February 2014. One Sunday evening, Rick and I were expecting to watch the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics when I noticed several police cars pull in front of our house. Officers descended upon our neighbor’s home. We later learned that she had been shot. For the next week, we crossed yellow police tape to get on and off our property. Television crews camped on our lawn. We discovered that people often do not know what is going on in their neighborhood. Our neighbor’s boyfriend pleaded guilty to the killing this winter. The highly-sought pink revolver has never been found.

February 2015. One morning, I heard via the car radio that two Mazomanie people had been killed the previous night. About noon, my neighbor let me know the shooter is a 17-year-old boy who lives one block from us. We know this young man, as well as his family. His grandmother was highly involved at one of the churches I served until her unexpected death a few years ago. Several families have been dramatically affected by this incident and will be decades.

Less than a week ago, a bi-racial 19-year-old man was killed by a white police officer during an altercation in Madison. Less than 30 miles from our not-so-quiet neighborhood, many more families are affected.

All three incidences are ripped from area headlines. We’d expect these headlines in other communities, not our seemingly quiet Midwest community. We’d prefer our community to be in the news for the same reason Arlington, IA (population 416) is. It’s most famous resident is the latest The Bachelor.

What do these incidences say to me? Evil is alive and well. While we’d like to assure ourselves headliner situations happen in “other areas,” this is not how evil works. Evil lurks at every corner and bend of our lives. It masks and disguises itself in our shadows. Previous accounts of how awful evil can be doesn’t always stop us. Biblical, historical and personal examples barely slow us down. Instead, we respond to evil like folks have for thousands of years. If we ignore it, it will disappear, right? Our evil tendencies are not nearly as bad as others, correct? It’s OK for some evil because the devil made us do it, right?

I have no good answers for dealing with evil … other than calling upon the Lord for protection, wisdom and guidance every minute of our lives. When we let down our guard for a second, it is a second too long. The enemy is near, waiting to create another story which will be headliner news. We all need protection. We all need God’s protection.

Lord God, surround me and my family with a shroud of your protection. Help me see the evil that lurks in my life. Grant me wisdom to make appropriate choices that shield me from the enemy. Amen.

Blessings –


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