Got robbed last night. I took my son Josiah down to the Cardinal baseball game and saw Yadi Molina hit a homerun to win the game. He loved it, and we had a blast. But upon returning to the car we found that some guys (not being sexist here, we saw them a little further down the street completing their work) had busted out my passenger window and stolen a few things, including my MP3 player. If you have ever been in this situation you know that you feel violated, angry, and vulnerable. The rage in me wanted to get the guys. We called the police but they did not arrive quick enough to catch the culprits, so I did the obligatory police report, then threw Josiah in the car, turned the heat on high and drove home with the breeze blowing through the car and the rain coming in.
As I was driving home trying to fight my rage, God reminded me of theologian and author Matthew Henry and his prayer after being robbed.
“I thank Thee. First, because I was never robbed before
Second, because altho’ they took my belongings, they did not take my life.
Third, altho’ they took everything I had, it was not much.
And fourth, becuase it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
Don’t take this blog as some holy pastor thing. Believe me, I was ticked and wanted vengeance, and the only thing that led me to keep my cool was seeing that Josiah was a bit scared. So I hugged him and kept my display of anger at a minimum. But it was there, the dreams of seeing the guys caught, having them strung up by their knuckles, the ancient tickle torture… But from deep within, after contemplating this prayer I began to feel a different response, one that echoed what Henry prayed, an attitude of thanksgiving. God has given so much, and I am thankful for the ability to drive a vehicle, to go to a game, and to have a few things. I am thankful we were not there when the men arrived and that we were not harmed. And I am thankful that my sweet son was OK. I was reminded quickly that stuff is replaceable, and it is all a gift from God to be enjoyed, but never to be worshiped.
But I also started feeling a sense of compassion. I thought of how horrible it must be to live in a situation where you believe you have to resort to violence and thievery to survive. While I contemplated the wickedness and depravity demonstrated by these gents, I was reminded that I too am sinful and if left in the right situation without Christ could too resort to this type of activity, or worse. So I prayed for the guys.
Like I said, they stole my MP3. Well, the weird guy that I am, it is loaded with, among other things, several sermons from guys like Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll. So I got to thinking, and then praying that God would grace these guys with curiosity to find out what is on my MP3 and they would stumble onto one of these sermons, and that maybe God would use it to speak deeply into their soul and show them the Gospel. That would be a miracle, and a beautiful way God could use even the wickedest of things to bring glory to Himself.