9.28.2008

"No Disaster Will Come Near Your Tent"

If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
~Psalm 91:9-11

Psalm 91 has been on my mind and heart often this week. This song, and the psalm itself, have played through my head over and over, as they have applied to so many aspects of our lives right now.

There is no doubt in my mind that there were angels guarding our back door last night, so that no harm befell us and no disaster came near our tent.

One of our children was having trouble sleeping, so she was in our bed, with me, and Billy was sleeping peacefully on the sofa. I had been asleep for a couple of hours when Billy came into the bedroom and said, "Is everybody okay?" It had been an exhausting day, and I was *sound* asleep, but the tone of his voice woke me up instantly. "What? Why? What's wrong?"

His answer chilled me to the bone.

"I'm just checking on everything, because I woke up and the back door was wide open."

*Gulp* "Umm...the inside back door, or the outside back door?"

(There is a small screened in porch on the back of our house. The door that goes from the porch to the back yard is known as "the outside back door", and the door that goes from the kitchen to the screened in porch is known as "the inside back door". I have often thought we really should come up with some more creative...and shorter...names for these doors, as we refer to them what seems like several hundred times a day, and it gets cumbersome. In the split second it took Billy to answer my question, I was trying to quickly analyze which one would be the worse answer.)

"Both."

(I hadn't decided yet which would be the worse of the two to find open at 1 a.m., but "both" was worse than bad, it was terrifying.)

I have to stop at this point and explain a couple of things. First...we don't live in the world's best neighborhood. Not that any place in our large town/small city (depending on who you're talking to ;-)) is exactly Mayberry...I can't think of a neighborhood in town in which I would leave my doors unlocked at night. But one of the *cons* of buying my grandparents' 60+ year old house 11 years ago was that the neighborhood had been on somewhat of an *upswing*, but we knew it was possible that that wouldn't last and it would head downward instead of upward. And sure enough, a few years after we moved here, the latter happened. It's more annoying than dangerous, but there are some shady characters that walk the streets some nights.

Second...we have two children who are sleepwalkers. Just last week, Billy had said to me that he was really concerned about the combination of Peter's age/growth, his bedroom being in the *back* of the house, and his sleepwalking seeming to get worse instead of better recently. He had decided that next week when he is on vacation, he was going to put an additional lock on the back door, "just in case" Peter should ever try to go out it in the night. (The front door has a keyed deadbolt, and is right next to our bedroom, so it wasn't such a worry.)

At the time, I really didn't think an additional lock on the back door was all that necessary, but if it would make Billy feel better, it was fine with me. My thought was that there are four locks on the two doors to the back yard, plus a doorknob that is hard for me to maneuver when I'm fully awake, so I wasn't too worried about Peter heading out in his sleep. BUT...knowing Billy's own history with sleepwalking (his mom can tell some eye-opening stories!), I deferred to his judgement, said, "sounds good", and didn't give it another thought.

Until last night. At 1:00 a.m. When Billy said, "Both."

"They were both standing wide open. I've checked everything, and it all looks okay. The kids are all asleep and I don't see any sign of anyone being in the house."

Wide open?? Now, to get the full effect of that statement, you have to realize that we live on a corner lot. And due to various changes to our property recently, when our back doors are open, you can see straight into our kitchen from a ways down the block. It would be very obvious to anyone walking or driving by that you could walk right in with no obstructions.

And people walk and drive down that side street *all night long*.

Most of them probably fine, upstanding citizens, who wouldn't dream of walking into someone's house uninvited, wide-open doors or not.

*Most* being the key word there.

We finally pieced together that Darcy (who sleeps in Peter's room), had woken up at some point and Peter, in his sleep, had either put her out or tried to. (When Billy woke me up, Darcy was in my bed, where she is NOT supposed to be, so apparently she had been roaming the house unattended at some point.) Darcy can get the inside screen door open from outside on her own if the other two doors are open, which was probably actually the noise that woke Billy up and caused him to go investigate.

We have no idea how much time had passed with the doors open, as Peter was sound asleep when we tried to question him about what had happened. Of course, he had no recollection at all of what he might have done while sleepwalking, so he wasn't much help anyway. We do know that Darcy was burrowed under my blanket when we found her, sound asleep, so it had been more than just a few minutes (my bed would *not* be the first place she would head upon coming into the house unattended.)

Poor Billy. Even with the terror-induced adrenalin surge, I was having trouble staying awake. (It had been a *really* long day and I was tireder than I had been in a *long* time.) After I got up to help him make sure everything in the house was secure, I crawled back in bed and forced myself to stay semi-alert long enough to hear Billy's plan. We couldn't really come up with a good way to insure that Peter wouldn't open the back doors *again* without our hearing him (although we knew the chances of that were slim at that point), so Billy decided he was going to have to stay awake the rest of the night, and then stay home from church and sleep while the rest of us were gone. As soon as lunch is over, he will be headed to the hardware store to get another lock for the back door.

I was telling someone the other day that one of the lessons God has taught me in recent years is that no matter *how* protective and careful I am as a parent, I *cannot* protect my children from all harm. Only God can do that. I am thankful that the reverse of that is true as well....that when we are, for whatever reason, the human equivalent of *sitting ducks*--doors wide open to whatever evil lurks just outside, and completely oblivious to the danger at hand--God is our dwelling and our refuge. He does give His angels charge over us, so that no disaster befalls our tent (or 75 year old house, in this case!)

It gives yet another meaning to being "held in the palm of His hand". Even when our physical refuge is stripped from us, He promises us that HE will be our refuge, if we make Him our dwelling place.

He keeps reminding me of that.

I am thankful. Again.

4 comments:

Melissa said...

Praise the Lord!

t marie said...

I'm so thankful for God's protection over those I love!

Sarah said...

WOW!!! Thanking God along with you for His protection!

Jules said...

Wow, that would've just freaked me out! But praising God for His vivid demonstration of divine protection!