On Monday night I was having some dinner and watching TV. My English Bible study started at 7:30 and my ride was going to come at 7. It was around 6:30 and I still had half an hour when I heard my doorbell ring. It was a little odd for 2 reasons:
First, it was the doorbell outside my door, not the downstairs buzzer. Second, I wasn't expecting anyone for another half an hour. The best I could guess was that it was my ride here early?
The moment I opened the door my stomach clenched in terror because the first thing I felt was a strong shove towards me from the other side. I saw that it was not one person, but two men standing there. All I could think was that this was a home invasion. I slammed the door shut and leaned against it as I struggled to lock it. I looked out the grate that faces out to the courtyard and elevators and saw the guys heading back toward the elevators, I yelled to them "Who are you?" and threatened to call the police. They said "Sorry" as the elevator door closed. I came back inside and realized my whole body was shaking. I tried to calm myself down. I wondered if maybe they had gone to the wrong apartment by mistake, and were just trying to scare their friends. But I couldn't erase the feeling of dread and the memory of my door being pushed open.
I called my ride and asked if they would come up to my door and walk me to their car.
I also slept with a light on that night.
I did tell the "security" lady downstairs (who only works 8-5) about what had happened and asked her to review the camera footage. She did some investigating for me, and found out that it had, indeed been friends of the people above me who had gone to the wrong floor. They passed on more apologies through her. It does give me some peace of mind to know that it was a mistake, but I have been double-checking my locks a lot this week.
By the way, guess what I was teaching about that evening?
It was like God knew what was going to happen to me that day, and had already prepared FAR in advance the very things I needed to hear to comfort me. In fact I had to teach and discuss them!
Here are some of the bible verses from the lesson that night:
11 With his great power the Lord warned me not to follow the road which the people were following. He said, 12 "Do not join in the schemes of the people and do not be afraid of the things that they fear. 13 Remember that I, the Lord Almighty, am holy; I am the one you must fear.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; I will fear no one. The Lord protects me from all danger; I will never be afraid.
"Do not be afraid—I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine.
Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me.
Romans 8:35, 37
35 Who, then, can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble do it, or hardship or persecution or hunger or poverty or danger or death?. . .37 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!
The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid; what can anyone do to me?
One of the discussion questions, which students struggled with was:
Psalm 27:1 tells us, “The Lord protects me from all danger.” Does this mean nothing bad will ever happen to us?
And in light of my situation, what could I tell them?
But indeed God often keeps us from more serious danger, I could have forgotten to lock my door altogether, or suprised someone breaking in when I arrived home etc. They could have actually meant to harm me instead of coming to my door by mistake. In hindsight, attackers don't usually say "sorry" and true home invaders probably wouldn't choose to target a building with security cameras in the front entrance and elevators. But this experience really has given me a wake up call to be a little more aware of personal safety.
Leading a godly lifestyle also keeps you from some forms of danger because of situations you simply won't find yourself in. But even if something does happen, we can be certain that God knows about it. That he is aware, and never turns a blind eye to it.
I didn't write that evening's lesson. I chose the order of the topics back in January. But the Creator of the universe knew it was exactly what I would need to be reminded of on April 14, 2008.