Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Evil: The Ultimate Opportunist

I recently read a blog post that reminded me of an incident that occurred a few years after Mary and I were married.

I was working for a company that required me to be on-call for one week per month. This was a few years before cell phones were readily available so we still used pagers. I still remember the sick feeling I’d get when I would hear that annoying beeping noise in the middle of the night or during holiday celebrations. I had to drop everything and immediately drive the 30+ miles to work.

Around two o’clock one morning, that annoying beeping noise woke us from a dead sleep. After walking over to the sink and splashing cold water on my face, I called the answering service and heard the message that I was needed at work right away.

While getting dressed, I opened my wallet and discovered that I didn’t have any cash. I quickly looked in Mary’s purse and found that she didn’t have much cash either. I told her that I was going to run by the ATM and get some money on my way to work.

Our bank was located on the service road of the freeway, right on my way to work. It was very convenient, but, even though the location was just off the freeway, it was fairly secluded. At that time, it was the only business in that area; a small building surrounded by dense woods. For this reason, and because the bank didn’t have a drive-through ATM machine, Mary didn’t like me going there at night. That night she again asked me to use the ATM in the convenient store near the front of our neighborhood.

I value Mary’s advice, but the convenient store charged a fee for using their ATM and our bank did not. It’s not that I’m cheap, I just hated paying unnecessary fees so I decided not to take her advice that night.

I had been to our bank’s ATM at night before but never at such a late hour. Other than a few dimly lit lights shining up from the landscaping in front of the building and a small light over the ATM machine, the area was dark and the woods surrounding the building were pitch black.

I parked my car in front of the small building and quickly walked up the sidewalk to the ATM machine. I got an eerie feeling like someone other than the ATM camera was watching me as I punched in the numbers on the keypad. I convinced myself that this was my imagination, but I was still so relieved when the cash popped out so I could finally return to my car and get out of there.

When I was about halfway back to my car, I heard footsteps on the sidewalk behind me. “Could you give me a ride?” the shaky voice of a woman asked. Thinking it was a set up and her boyfriend was going to pop out of the bushes and shoot me, I didn’t even turn around until I reached my car and opened the door.

She was young, twenty years-old at most. I looked over the top of the car as she nervously explained that her car broke down on the freeway. I only heard bits and pieces of what she was saying because I was planning a quick getaway and scanning the hedges in front of the building for any sign of her accomplice. Before even getting my answer, she began sheepishly walking towards my car as if I had agreed to her request.

Still suspicious, I mumbled something about being in a hurry to get to work and moved closer to the open door of my car. “PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME HERE, I’VE BEEN RAPED,” she shouted as she rushed to my car and frantically tried to open the locked passenger door. I unlocked the door.

She asked me to take her home so her mom could accompany her to the hospital.

After driving a mile or so on the service road, she pointed to her car parked on the shoulder of the freeway and began telling me the horrifying story.

She was at a friend’s house watching a movie. She stayed later than she intended and later than her mom wanted her to. While driving home on the nearly deserted freeway, her car stalled so she parked it on the shoulder and turned the emergency flashers on. She waited in the car for about thirty minutes hoping that a police officer or a Good Samaritan would stop and help her. She finally gave up on that idea and decided to walk the three miles or so to a gas station to call her mom.

Thinking it wouldn’t be safe walking along the shoulder of the freeway, she decided to walk in the grass on the inside of the service road. She had only been walking for about five minutes when, seemingly from nowhere, a large man grabbed her from behind and carried her into the woods where he raped her. Following the brutal assault, the rapist fled one way and the traumatized girl fled the other way. Thinking that he might return to look for her, she hid behind the bushes in front of the bank to figure out what her next move would be. This is when I entered her nightmare, and she decided that I would be her next move.

Evil is the ultimate opportunist.

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Evil operates like a lion wandering through the wilderness looking for the young, the weak or otherwise vulnerable prey. An evil lion found a physically vulnerable young girl that night.

But evil doesn’t just search for the physically vulnerable, it also preys on the emotionally and spiritually vulnerable; those isolated by addiction, depression, abuse or one of life’s many other challenges that are so difficult to overcome without the help of others.

I can no longer help those in physical distress, but I can still do my best to help those in emotional or spiritual distress by giving them hope. As Christians, we all have the responsibility to help the hurting, even when, maybe especially when, we’re hurting.

If someone came to your mind when you read that, it’s probably the person that God wants you to help.

What are you waiting for?

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

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116 thoughts on “Evil: The Ultimate Opportunist

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  1. Pingback: My Article Read (12-27-2014) | My Daily Musing

  2. That poor girl :(. Must have been a living nightmare for her. Praise God you were safe and able to help her. As I was reading the story, I worried that the title you chose was referring to something bad happening to you. The way you wrote about the woman you helped was an interesting twist- you had me in suspense till the end of the story- brilliantly written!

  3. You came to my mind Bill when I first read your message yesterday, I was coming back to comment and lost the link but when visiting someone else tonight, I saw your link again on their Blog.

    How are you ? I have often thought of you and your dream, I hope your OK and will be Blogging again soon, people need your Hope in the Storms life brings.

    Christian Love in Christ Jesus – Anne

  4. Pingback: My Article Read (11-2-2014) (11-3-2014) | My Daily Musing

  5. A truly horrifying story for the girl, and a good example of how we can so easily be overcome by our enemy. It is a good thing in this case that you were there. And is also shows how something so slight and even innocent (falling asleep and coming home late) can take us off track and make us even more vulnerable to the enemy. Thanks for alerting us to that and how we can help others when they are in a tough situation.

  6. I am just getting around to replying to some of the posts that I LIKED but didn’t have time to reply to when I read it. Thank you for sharing this! I love your stories and your perspectives. They always make me think more than any other stories!

  7. Sorry it took a while to get to this. It was worth the wait. An excellent post, Bill. Good writing and a good message. The Lord provides.

  8. Thanks for this great reminder. 🙂 Hugs…. I think you just answered one of my questions I have been puzzling over. I’m not sure why you chose this story but thanks. God uses people in the strangest of ways sometimes when we don’t even know. It’s time for some God time. Thanks again. Take care. – Amy 🙂

  9. May God continue to bless you Bill as you bless those you encounter.

  10. Bill,
    Thanks for this riveting story from your past. And for the connection to us right now. As it happens, there is someone in my life reaching out for help. I relate totally to the feeling of risk (on both sides, actually). So many imponderables. And so little time to process all the should/shouldn’t I questions.

    My mind goes to the gospel account of the man lying beaten on the side of the road and the passers-by. Only one took the risk of reaching out. I want to be like that–and also, like the beaten man, willing to risk accepting help from strangers who see my wounds and don’t turn away. Very thought-provoking piece. Thanks again.
    Elouise

  11. Wow… so glad things turned out for good as far as your being able to help that young girl. So sad that she experienced such violence, but thank God for your loving kindness in the face of fear. Interestingly enough, I am the one who came to mind at the end of your blog because of the various circumstances I am in. Thank you for the confirmation to be sober and alert. ((hugs))

  12. That poor young woman.

    And what a frightening night for you. 😦

    I am so glad I read this post. I personally identified with these words:

    “But evil doesn’t just search for the physically vulnerable, it also preys on the emotionally and spiritually vulnerable; those isolated by addiction, depression, abuse or one of life’s many other challenges that are so difficult to overcome without the help of others.”

    I have been battling depression for quite some time now. Over the past few years have had some personal experiences that were heart breaking, and haven’t bounced back as well as I used to do. It helps me so much to read how other Christian bloggers are overcoming and living lives that bring glory to the Lord, such as yourself.

    Blessings,
    Theresa

    • Thank you, Theresa. I’m sorry to hear about your depression, but glad that you’re battling it and not giving in! One of the things I love about the Bible is that it doesn’t gloss over the internal struggles of God’s people. Many of those we now consider to be heroes of the faith (David, Jeremiah, Isaiah…) struggled with depression and other “issues.” I think this is why we find comfort reading the Psalms (when feeling low); we relate to the words.
      “Why are you in despair, O my soul?
      And why are you disturbed within me?
      Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him,
      The help of my countenance and my God.” (Psalm 43:5)

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