Armed and Afraid

7 08 2016

I remember the threat like it was yesterday; “I’ll get you and I’ll get your family!” These Rock _nvenomous words came in a phone call from a former tenant I evicted out of an apartment complex we owned. This was an individual who lived a rough life and was trying (at least as he told me) to get himself straightened up. In an effort to try and help I let the rent slide a couple of times always with the promise he’d make it right later. Well later never came and so having no choice we served an eviction notice. Immediately he showed his gratitude for all we had done for him by completely trashing the apartment, then calling with the threat before dropping out of sight. When I contacted the police they assured me his past record indicated he was capable of carrying out this evil and for a while we should be very watchful.  It was not even a second thought when I sent Cathy and the children away for a period of time for their own safety.  A friend asked how I planned to protect myself in case he showed in the night. “I guess I’ll keep my softball bat by the bed and hopefully get the first swing in.” “I don’t think that’s good enough,” my friend answered and headed outside to his car. When he returned he had 410 shotgun in one hand and a box of shells in the other. “I know you don’t use guns, John, but it pays to he prepared, so let me give you a quick lesson; then leave it in the corner next to your bed, just in case.”

I’m not sure how much I slept that first night alone, wondering if this individual would carry out his threat, and also staring that the long barrel gun pointing up and leaning against the wall near me. Don’t know when I fell asleep, only when I heard the noise that woke me enough to grab the gun and run out into the living room. Nothing, only darkness and quiet as I stood there for what seemed to be an hour, gun ready to use. The next evening as I was getting ready for bed a loud knock came from the front door. Once again I grabbed up the shotgun and opened the door just enough to peek out. It was the neighbor wondering where the family was and checking to see if I was alright. I kept the gun hid behind the door as I thanked them, then collapsed on the couch considering what might have happened if I had over reacted; I wasn’t liking what my mind told me could have happened. I realized I was afraid of what could happen at the hands of the perpetrator, but also frightened of the life taking machine I now held over my lap. Taking the shells out of the gun I placed them back in the box with the others, then carried everything out to the trunk of my car.  That night with my Louisville Slugger next to me I slept like a baby.

Rick Warren says, “Fear is a self imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. You must move against it with the weapons of faith and love.”

Now I’m not going to get into the debate on gun control and ownership; I have many friends and family that are veterans and/or skilled hunters that have fired weapons extensively. But even though I consider myself an outdoorsman I’ve never been around or used guns; just something I never got much opportunity to do and frankly at this point in my life have no desire for. So having one in my home after a 2-minute crash course on how to use it really didn’t bring the security my friend with the good intentions meant. As a matter of fact, it brought me greater fear than the one who had threatened me and my family.  The thought that I could accidentally shoot a person out of fear just wasn’t worth the security that was meant in having the weapon in the first place; it just wasn’t me.

I remembered a couple of promises from God’s Word that seem to bring things back into perspective.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

As this “Traveler of the Rock Road” looked back on my life, there was as realization that I had to face bigger obstacles than this treat and not once did God leave my side.

Charles Spurgeon also said this: “The worst evils of life are those which do not exist except in our imagination. If we had no troubles but real troubles, we should not have a tenth part of our present sorrows. We feel a thousand deaths in fearing one, but the Christian is cured of the disease of fearing.”

This guy could possibly harm me, but he wasn’t going to make me fear him. At worse he could take my life, but all he’d be doing is giving me a new and better one. That’s a cool thing to know, huh?!!

The following week I brought the family home and never heard another word from my menace–that is until I spotted him in a store several months later. The moment his eyes saw me walking toward him, he put down what he was looking at, headed out of the store to his car and was gone lickety split! For a moment I wondered what he saw coming toward him to make him that afraid. As one person put it perhaps he could see me approaching with a couple of giant angles on my flanks. But I think it was more about something he and I both forgot about; I was a good head taller and outweighed him by at least 50 pounds. Sometimes it’s the “little” things that bring a smile to your face!
See ya next time.




2 responses

7 08 2016

…or maybe as you walked toward him he saw God’s army surrounding you and he couldn’t take the brightness of God’s goodness and grace shining out of you. ~charlene

7 08 2016

Good point, Charlene and thanks! 🙂

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