A little over a year ago, some nice folks broke into my house and stole over $8,000 worth of stuff.
Among the items stolen were several pieces of jewelry (most were sentimental), a Wii System, an iPod, an iPad and my MacBook Pro.
I’d lived alone for six years and never even entertained the thought that such a thing would ever happen to me.
But it did.
This is not a sad story about how Kara Grey Wilson endured a heartbreaking loss, yet stayed positive and strong in the faith despite the fact that her home was violated and her most prized possessions were stolen. No…
This story is not about me.
This is a testament to the unspeakable awesomeness of Jesus Christ.
He is the only one who can turn an unspeakable act into an unspeakable gift.
“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”
– Romans 12: 9-14 (KJV)
As I said earlier – nothing like this had ever happened to me. So I didn’t really know how to feel.
The robbery happened a few days before Thanksgiving; it was safe to assume the kind folks who stole my stuff made a desperate (and successful) attempt to accumulate some holiday funds…and possibly even gifts. For their family. For their children.
This realization made me sad. And even though I was technically and literally the victim of thievery… even though I had done nothing wrong… I felt guilty.
Did I hate that my stuff was stolen? Of course. But not as much as I hated knowing that someone resorted to stealing – potentially because of holiday pressures we all experience. Some, however, much more than others.
I am in the “others” category. Always have been. My family may not have always had the best of everything, but my parents provided my sister and me with the best they could give. And most of the time, we were indeed given the best – according to my small town’s standards, especially.
Even when we lived in a single-wide trailer out Jock Rd. and rode around in a beat-up minivan, I got teased for being a “rich kid.” That bothered me even at a young age because I could see the longing in my classmates’ eyes, and I could feel the resentment toward me in their hearts. I always wished they knew how I felt for them. I’d even try to make up for it by sharing my crayons or complimenting their outfits.
But I didn’t understand then that their hurt ran so much deeper than coveting my name-brand snacks and sneakers.
I never could bring myself to curse them – those who weren’t nearly as fortunate as I was. And evidently I hadn’t changed much over the course of twenty years, because no part of me wanted to have bitter feelings for my thieves.
So I didn’t.
There was nothing I could do to get my stuff back. That job was out of my hands and in those of the city police. Basically, mourning my loss would be pointless, and the guilt I felt made me feel like it would be petty to do so, anyway.
So I didn’t.
I’d recently gotten on a “I’m going to do what the Bible says to do when I’m not sure how to respond” kick, so I decided to step out in faith and bless my robbers. After all – what else could I do?
My prayer was very specific, and a little strange. But it was what I felt at the time, so I went with it:
Dear Lord, bless the hearts and minds of those who stole from me. I pray that, next time, they turn to You. AND…I pray that somewhere out there, a little boy or girl who never would’ve dreamed of getting an iPad for Christmas will be the recipient of my stolen iPad on Christmas morning. I pray that the gift brings them joy. An excitement like they’ve never known. And I pray that it instills in them a hope for their future – no matter how pitiful their childhood has been or is. Lastly, I pray that they somehow know that the joy they feel is Your Spirit, Lord. I pray that this crime is used to introduce a young child to Your unspeakable love. An unspeakable gift. I pray these things in the Name of Jesus.
I’ll never REALLY know what comes of this prayer, I thought. But I was fine with that. I knew I served a merciful God who could do whatever He wanted. And I had full faith that He would honor my prayer in whatever way He saw fit.
Almost exactly a year passed… And I received a very unexpected message.
A friend of mine had just purchased a MacBook Pro from a local Pawn Shop, and he/she suspected it was mine. The one that had been stolen from me a year earlier.
He/she said my information was still present when he/she tried to set up his/her e-mail account.
I was first shocked. Then excited!
I had forgotten about my special prayer, and I was selfishly interested in figuring out how I could regain possession of the laptop. MY laptop that happened to be worth a LOT of money. I knew it wasn’t my friend’s fault, and I hated that my friend may end up getting the sore end of a deal… but it WAS, after all, MY laptop! God was showing up for me, right?
I told my friend some of the other items that had been stolen from me in case he/she had seen something similar in the pawn shop. Maybe I can find those, too!
“The people who had the laptop before me wiped most everything. BUT…there are a couple of pictures on here. Of the previous owners and their kids it looks like.”
And just like that, my prayer came back to me. A knot formed in my throat.
No way… This isn’t about me getting my stuff back, is it?
“Can you tell anything about the family from the pictures?”
“In one picture left on here, there is a little boy playing a game on an iPad…”
Oh. My. God. You did it, God! You really did it!
“and based on the living conditions I can see, it doesn’t look like they could have afforded a computer and an iPad...”
THIS is the God I serve. He ALWAYS answers prayers! And His gifts…they truly are unspeakable.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
– 1 John 5: 14-15 (KJV)