Recent conversations with my daughter consist of a recurring sentiment: “I wish people would stop stealing from me!”
In the latest episode, she shared the details about money stolen from her wallet while at work that day. Coincidentally, this event occurred on the one year anniversary of her apartment break-in at college. (read my post about it here )
A few days later, she repeated the sentiment when she informed me someone had attempted to steal her car.
Needless to say, she’s ready to lose the target on her back.
If you’ve ever had anything stolen from you, then you’ll understand why she was feeling frustrated, defenseless, and vulnerable.
In light of current events, many in our nation are experiencing some of these same feelings. We share a collective grief over nature’s devastation, and because of a sick man’s rage, we unite our voices and raise our fists toward evil and shout, “Stop stealing from us!”
But in quiet reflection, Scripture whispers to us: Evil is no respecter of persons and crouches at our doors ready to overtake us (Genesis 4:7). We have an enemy that prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Honestly, my daughter’s stolen jewelry, money, and attempted car theft are far less important to me than the stolen hearts and minds held hostage by an unseen enemy who targets our children’s weaknesses and takes aim at their innocence.
Easy access to mind-addictions quickly carries them away into another land and leaves us out of touch and in the dark.
In an instant, spiritual domestic violence slithers in and assaults the dreams we once held for our loved ones.
Addictions to drugs, alcohol, and pornography are ferocious beasts to battle, but let’s not forget about the addictions to beauty, comparison, social media, being left out, not fitting in, and trying to keep up. The truth is: The former steals our children’s bodies, the latter steals their hearts.
Satan violates our children with every pornographic image displayed, every addiction indulged, and every unhealthy relationship obliged.
When children trade their heavenly treasure for earthly pleasure, their hearts and minds transform into stolen goods which are never fully satisfied– they are constantly seeking more– more pleasure, more likes, more numbing, and more worldly approval.
In Genesis, Adam and Eve had their hearts and minds looted, too. Through deceit, Satan convinced them to doubt God’s goodness and turn their backs on the beautiful, abundant life He freely gave them.
Because they chose greed and self-gratification over God’s perfectly satisfying provision, the garden of Eden decayed into a desert of prodigals.
The problem in believing the world’s goodness is superior to God’s is that it leads our children on a path away from Him toward a cesspool teeming with victims of stolen identity. The lie firmly grips their hearts and minds shaming them into thinking it’s impossible to return to the truth.
In John 10:10, Jesus warned about an enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He contrasts Himself with the cruel enemy by saying He is the Good Shepherd. He didn’t come to take away, but to give back that which the enemy has stolen. He gives His protection and provision in exchange for the emptiness that follows Satan’s violation.
Not only does He give us His protection, but He offers the added bonus of abundance. He doesn’t offer a mediocre, barely-existing life; He offers ABUNDANT LIVING! A life that is full, not empty; found, not lost; beloved; not stolen.
This abundant life includes peace that passes understanding; a love that is so high and wide and deep that it can’t be measured; and amazing grace that overflows from the compassionate, merciful heart of God.
In a world where our children’s hearts, minds, and faith easily turn toward a secular value system and the latest celebrity trend, God relieves the aching for what the enemy has stolen by making us an offer we can’t refuse…a breath-filled life which can only be described as abundant.
He knows what His sheep need and fights the enemy on our behalf. He is the Defender of the defenseless and vulnerable, and He waits and watches for our wayward children to return from the land of lies and deceit. He joins us in the battle cry, “Stop stealing from me!”
While we wait for the stealing to stop and the violence to end, the Good Shepherd breathes new life into us and offers abundance. He gifts us with peace and security when we understand He is Good when things go bad. His presence fills the remaining void when it feels like everything is falling apart and taken away. And His promise of safe-keeping becomes a new dream to savor for our loved ones because He holds them securely in His hands.
Waiting with you,