When my daughter hurried to the car after stepping off the school bus, I knew something was wrong. “There’s a shooter,” she said.
She explained a few miles from our house, a man had shot at police and was on the run.
We hurried inside, locked the doors, and watched a plane as it began to circle our yard. It flew so low I wondered if it skimmed the top of the maple tree in the front. The growling of the engine grew loud every time the plane approached and became a small speck in the distant sky as it made its rounds, searching for the shooter.
This went on for hours.
I’d asked close friends to pray. Calls and texts came in, asking us if we were okay and telling us to stay inside.
I prayed while my daughter and I went room to room in our house as we watched the sky for the plane and searched the shadows of our yard for an armed stranger.
Of course God was there. And in the brightness of day as we kept watch, I had peace.
But night came and there was no keeping watch beyond the beam of my flashlight. The plane was gone and the quiet was unnerving. Police cars raced by our driveway, their lights flashing in the darkness, their sirens silenced.
I breathed easier thinking, They must have got him.
But another call came. “They think he’s somewhere on your road.”
I’d like to tell you I still had peace. I want to tell you I cried out to God in that very moment and He brought me His peace that surpasses all understanding.
But it didn’t happen that way. I didn’t cry out to God just then.
I’d been relying on my sight, and now it was extremely limited. My ability to monitor the situation had been stripped away with the light. I reasoned I could still listen.
But every creak in our house, every sound I’d heard a thousand times before suddenly made me question the source. My stomach soured and burned. My head started to throb when I heard a helicopter circling, the red infrared light hovering above the shadowed trees.
My husband was completely calm with the seriousness and stability of a soldier on duty while our daughter watched the helicopter in between answering her friends’ texts.
Me? I paced and sat. Paced and sat. Answered my phone and paced some more.
It wasn’t until I was in the shower, my sight and ability to hear limited to the confines within the shower curtain and the sound of gushing water, that I finally cried out to God. My flesh wanted to hurry, so I could get back to the living room and keep an eye on the helicopter or stand in our darkened bedroom to listen for sounds outside our window.
Thankfully, my spirit won over my flesh, and I stood in the shower and prayed.
Please, God. We need You. I don’t know how any of us will get any sleep tonight if this goes on. Please keep the police officers safe. Please protect the man they’re after too. Please Lord, help them find him.
When I returned to the living room after my shower, my husband told me, “You can relax now. They got him.”
You can relax now.
I have to wonder if my Heavenly Father told me that very thing the moment I finally cried out to Him instead of relying on me with all my ridiculously limited abilities.
Yes, I can hear Him now:
Relax, child. I am. And I am here.
I want to remember this:
Every time things are out of my control.
Every time I can’t see the outcome of a situation or even what’s going on around me.
Every time I stumble over my human reasoning and weaknesses instead of living by faith.
And I want to remember how God cares for His children, even when they are pacing in the dark or crying in the shower.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV.)