Growing up, every Sunday and Wednesday you would find my family loading up the car and heading to the building to meet with the church. Faith in God was taught and patterned for my siblings and I as we grew. I grew to love God and was convicted of my sinfulness. I chose to be baptized into His body at the age of twelve. Becoming a Christian called me to a new way of thinking and acting, and along my faith journey it has often seemed pretty easy to be who I say I am. Then the troubles come and give a little test. One of those times happened to me last Saturday during our trip to Omaha.
We had gathered at a little church to celebrate Christmas with the Sobetski (Jenny’s family) clan. After we had a good lunch and spent time exchanging gifts, we all loaded into our vehicles with excitement to go and see Great Grandma Rita for a window visit. When I started our van it shuddered and roared. We all looked at each other wondering at the shaking and noise. It sounded like a massive race car preparing to be the first off the line. What had happened? Was there a hole in the muffler? Had the exhaust pipe rusted through?
Leaving the car running I got out to take a look under the van. Later, Jenny and Julie told me that when I came back to report I had my angry face on. The church video surveillance confirmed that while we had been joyfully opening presents inside, a masked man had cut off and stolen the catalytic converter from our van!
As I spent the remainder of the day processing what had occurred, I wrestled with how to respond and I believe the Spirit kept bringing me back to Luke 6:27-31:
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who are abusive to you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat people the same way you want them to treat you.”
Pray for those who abuse you? Whoever takes what is yours, do not demand it back? But he
stole my catalytic converter! I really did not want to pray for this man, and besides that, what was I supposed to pray? The Spirit seemed to gently nudge me with Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and 6:23, “for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
The problem with the man who stole from me was that he needed Jesus in his life. That’s what I needed to pray for. So that evening as we prayed before putting our little guys to bed, we prayed a prayer of forgiveness and a prayer that God would intercede in the man’s life and help him find Jesus.
As we enter this new year, I want to encourage us as God’s people to be who we say we are and to live out our daily lives being who God has called us to be.