May we trust even when we don’t understand — Vivienne Solomons

We didn’t see it coming but then nobody does.

2023 was a significant year for our family – long-held dreams were finally realised and hard-won goals achieved. Honestly, it felt like after years of standing in faith and contending in prayer that we were finally standing in the sun and things would only get better from there. Until we weren’t. And it didn’t because life is not always like that, is it?

On a hot summer’s day in mid-December, the last workday for my husband and I before we signed off on the work year, when my oldest son was home alone, we experienced a home break-in and robbery. 

We had been monitored and it was certainly planned. It had to be because both of us have a hybrid work situation where no two days are the same. We also have tenants on our property who have their own erratic schedules.

Storms of life can happen when we least expect them

I was the first to arrive home that day, to be met by my son at the (still-locked) front door and gate. Everything looked normal from the outside. Just like he did (I later realised he had been traumatised and was in shock). I honestly thought he was joking although he would never joke about something like this.

As we walked around the house together, the reality of the situation started to sink in. It was a housebreaking in the middle of the day with every cupboard ransacked to unearth any other valuables worth stealing. They left as quickly as they came, leaving us to pick up the pieces.

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My thoughts raced. I was angry – angry at the perpetrators, angry at the high crime rate in South Africa, especially in Johannesburg where we live … but also angry at God who allowed this to happen to our son and to us. 

Then just as quickly I was grateful to God that our son’s life had been spared and that they had only (only?) tied him up and gagged him. Despite the huge inconvenience of an insurance claim, our possessions would eventually be replaced. 

For anyone who has been a victim of this type of crime, the feeling of not being safe in your own home is difficult to deal with but must be managed if we are to go about our lives once more. 

Trauma counselling and therapy is necessary and does help with this, but the truth is, when our “safe space” has been violated, it is almost impossible to feel safe anywhere.

As believers, our only “safe space” is to be found in our relationship with God. Our sense of safety cannot be found in our security company’s response times or a well-maintained electric fence (although these measures have their place and certainly do help in deterring crime). 

The name of the Lord is our strong tower, a place of safety in fearful times ( Proverbs 18:10)

Surprisingly, when we as a family look back on that day and the events that followed, we all agree that it was the most peaceful, unrushed, and refreshing December break that we can remember. The reason? 

We took it one day at a time, intentionally slowing down to focus on our family and be sensitive to how each one was feeling. It was the time of honest reconnection that we didn’t know we needed.  

Only the Lord can turn a bad situation around and make good of it (Romans 8:28) 

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