So my alarm was set for 5:15 this morning to make sure I got up in time to jog. I may as well have left it off, though, because my phone woke me at 4:45. It was the alarm company that the church uses. I missed their first call (it was 4:45 IN THE MORNING!), so when the second one woke me up it was to tell me that police had been dispatched. Normally the church alarm goes off because someone forgot to lock a door and it blows open in the wind or something, but with the police being dispatched I had to go.
So I grumbled my way out the door and drove to church all bleary-eyed.
When I got there, though, I realized that this wasn’t a false alarm. Thieves had cut the locks off of one of our storage sheds. Now, we have a trailer that is owned by the church parked nearby, and last week someone tried to steal that too. I would bet that the two incidents are connected! When they opened the door to the shed it set the alarm off, which must have scared them off because nothing was missing. The officers were fantastic (thanks, Glendale PD!), wrote a short report and left.
I went home upset. I mean, really, has society gotten so bad that people will STEAL FROM A CHURCH?!?! That was twice in about a week. Thieves make me mad anyway; I mean, really, someone worked hard to earn the money to buy something, and someone else is so lazy and inconsiderate that they will take what is someone else’s to have ease for themselves. If they were hungry we have a food pantry! I was up too early and angry at stupid thieving idiots.
I was upset and decided that we needed to get some video surveillance cameras installed to catch the guys responsible. I prayed for repentance for the guys who did that and then left for school.
At school on a break I sent an email to my elders telling them what happened and my plan to find some surveillance equipment and watch what God has entrusted to us. My secretary (the amazing lady that she is) was all over finding options and pricing stuff out. We were on the road to making the church less vulnerable to heathen, thieving reprobates! I was on a mission to catch these guys and show them that they were wrong!
All of my plans got derailed by Bob, one of our elders who is a financial planner. He pulled me up short and taught me a lesson that was sorely needed in the midst of my anger. Rather than spending $1000 on a surveillance system he suggested that we review our insurance and make sure that our coverages and deductible were where we wanted.
This is why I am glad to have elders. Bob affirmed my frustration and anger at the situation. It is natural to feel violated when something like this happens, but he reminded me that it would be wise to slow down and not overreact. The alarm did its job in keeping our stuff safe, we lost maybe $25 worth of locks and hinges but nothing of substance. The trailer was not stolen, and everything is okay. Even if they did clean the shed out we pay insurance premiums to cover the loss. So why spend $1000? Wouldn’t that be overreacting?
That was a lesson that was really important. Because I was upset about the damage I was willing to go a LONG way to make sure I didn’t get hurt again, even though in reality I had lost little. The safeguards we had in place worked, so “no blood, no foul” right? My desire for more security measures had more to do with my emotions and frustration than a wise use of church resources. His answer took the time to think about the consequences of our actions considering where we were. (This is why I am so thankful to God for the amazing elders at our church…)
Spiritually I think I do the same thing a lot. I get hurt by someone so I make a radical decision to protect myself from future harm. I have a problem in ministry so I put a bunch of safeguards in place to make sure that I never have that problem again. I got a reminder today that just because something bad almost happened it is no reason to put up a bunch of fences to make sure that it could never possibly happen again! God doesn’t want us to be spiritual Fort Knox, all safe and secure and inaccessible to others. Sometimes being open means being vulnerable, but just like He did this morning He will protect us when we need it.
God is in control, He protected us from loss in both instances, and there was no compelling reason to jump into a lot of protective measures. When we get hurt spiritually-say by the death of a loved one or the betrayal of a friend-God is in control and protecting us there as well. We would be wise when hurting to take some time, think, pray, and reason before we make significant decisions based on hurt or anger. Those reactions are seldom the godly, prayerful decisions that God wants for us.