As I snuggled on my couch for my 5:30 a.m. devotions the other day, I was unaware of the person rifling through my car on the other side of the wall. When the car horn beeped, (perhaps at the moment the perpetrator threw away my Mercy Me CD), I leapt up, grabbed a flashlight, and ran to the door.
The car door was open, which I took to mean the thief had fled. Indignantly foolish, I approached the car slowly, aware that I was alone, in my pajamas, and except for my foot-long metal flashlight and yipping pooch, defenseless. Other than some Christian CDs, my favorite soundtrack, O, Brother Where Art Thou? and an ashtray full of change, nothing was missing. I called the police anyway in case there were other incidents in the neighborhood.
As the officer wrote the report, I could see he was weary. It had been a busy night he said. Two armed robberies and two house break-ins. But I suspected there was more to his heavy spirit. By the time he left, I had learned the deeper story, the one that stole his energy and weighed his being.
Being a Miss-I-See-A-Lesson-Everywhere, I settled back down with my coffee and let the excitement of the early morning events roll over me.
Lately I had been doing something I knew I wasn't supposed to be doing. The facility that bordered my property had recently banned pets. But every morning for the past three years, I had walked the dog there. So, I decided to continue--under the cover of darkness, early in the morning around 5:30. Although I didn't expect to encounter anyone in the dark, the possibility of doing so, coupled with a guilty conscience, was beginning to bother me.
Now I knew for sure others were out and about in the dark. I had been oblivious to the danger around me, but the One Who is Merciful had given me both protection and mercy as He taught me a lesson. I resolved to stop being so careless by not locking doors, and to stop endangering both my physical and spiritual well-being by my defiant, forbidden walks.
But there was more than my own personal lesson involved here. As I wrapped up my prayers of thanks, I remembered the officer whose life intersected my own that morning and whose story lodged in my spirit.
Surely the One who protected me knew the one with the difficult job of protecting others. Perhaps the One who hears my prayers had arranged this brief encounter in my driveway so that I could pray for the one who was weary.
O, Lord, may you cause your face to shine upon him who is weary, who feels life has taken a hard turn, who needs to know You who sees, and cares, and holds all things in your hands."