I was rung by a friend from church last week whilst on holiday in Wales.
"I'm afraid that I've got some rather bad news for you Daf. I'm at your house with the police. Someone has broken in."
"Oh." I said.
Oddly, when we had left for holiday on the Monday I had thought to myself, "We could well be burgled this week." so I had taken my lap top. My only worry was that I hadn't hidden the hard drive with all our family photos on. So when he told me we'd been burgled, I was sort of expecting it. (I am not going to be sidelining as "Mystic Daf", so please don't ask me for predictions about your future!).
Now it's not much fun being burgled. But strangely it has been a blessing to us in a number of ways. Before you tell me I'm nuts, here they are:
1. Our neighbour noticed and bothered to go and find someone at the church building to tell. He and I chat over the garden fence and have been into each others houses. This just went to confirm that we have friends next door.
2. My wife wasn't that bothered. This may sound silly, but I have been blessed with a very unworldly wife. Even when it appeared that a number of items of sentimental value had been stolen, she genuinely was simply glad everyone was safe. She seems to do Matthew 6:19 well. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."
3. The police were very helpful. We take it for granted that we have a police force that turns up, treats you with respect and doesn't have to be bribed to get on with their job. This is not true in every country in the world!
4. Lovely people from church sorted it all out. They stayed with the police until a kind carpenter (who came with all his kids!) fixed the door. Someone slept on our sofa the next night in case the thief returned. Then 6 people tidied-up the house, putting back as much as they could of the drawers that had been turned out and the boxes that had been chucked on the floor. Someone has offered to house sit for us when we go on holiday next and someone else has very generously given us money to fit an alarm (Be warned future intruders!).
We have been wonderfully loved by our church family. 1 John 4:12 is true! "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."
5. Being untidy has it's advantages. In one way I feel a little sorry for the people who broke in. They took all the trouble to smash down our front door not knowing that it's almost impossible to find anything in our house, especially small things belonging to my wife. The thieves were faced with a dressing table that already looked like it hand been ransacked! Due to her storage methods she has found most of the things that she thought had been stolen in odd boxes and jam jars round our bedroom. We have actually found some items that we'd lost before the burglary!
6. It's reminded me that relationships really are the most important thing. At first I was tempted to charge straight back home on hearing the news. With my usual humility I thought, "Only I can sought this out!" But, after a little thought, we decided to stay on in Wales and had a fantastic day with some friends. The importance of relationships was also brought home to me by the fact that the object that I was most concerned about was the drive containing the family photos. Memories of precious times with people I love. It hadn't been taken.
I know that being burgled can be a terrible experience. Most people lose far more than we did. Many people feel violated because someone has been through their home and possessions. But those weren't our experience. In an odd way I'm genuinely thankful to God for what has happened.
But in case your wondering....being blessed through one burglary is quite enough for me!