April Amiot and her family have been Assembly of God missionaries since 2004. Their first term was spent in Mexico City, and the following two terms in Costa Rica. They work with university students and have helped start the international network of university ministries called Red Universitaria which reaches students throughout Latin America.
A man broke into our house in the middle of the night.
We were living in a sweet little neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota full of charming 1930’s bungalows with one and a half stories, hard wood floors, and gardens with tomato patches and rows of petunias. Charles Schultz, the creator of The Peanuts comic strip, grew up in the house on the corner of our street. A friendly police officer lived across the street from us, and two older, single women lived on either side of us. I hung a tire swing from the silver maple in our backyard. We were first time home owners and parents with young children, so this peaceful tree lined street seemed like the perfect place to nest.
Until one night when we were awoken suddenly by a horrible crashing and banging sound.
We tumbled out of bed and ran down the stairs to confront a strange man standing in our dining room. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He slurred, “They made me do it. I didn’t want to hurt you.” I quickly scanned his hands and saw no weapon. I took an instantaneous inventory of the contents of the dining room and realized there was nothing that we could use to fight this man. I didn’t smell any alcohol. But I knew that if he was strung out on drugs, he might be freakishly strong. Then I remembered there was a fire extinguisher in the hall closet between my kids’ rooms just 5 steps from me. I thought to myself, “You will have to literally step over my DEAD BODY to get to my children.” I was going to die protecting that hallway to where my babies were hidden
under their homemade quilts, asleep in their beds.
As I slid along the wall and disappeared into the hallway, my husband calmly talked the man out of the house and grabbed the phone to call the police. With my babies safely tucked into my own bed upstairs, I returned to the main floor and surveyed the damage. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the front door. This man had kicked down our door, FLAT. Our solid wood, double dead-bolted door, along with the wood casing all around it, and two large chunks of plaster wall on either side of the door lay on the living room floor. With trembling hands we pushed the couch against the broken door to hold it in place and sat together on the couch, stunned, until the sun rose.
From a security stand point, we had done everything right. All our windows had special locks on them to prevent entry from outside. We added extra dead bolts to the doors. We turned on lights every night at the front and the back of the house, and we took no unnecessary risks. We were physically shaken but unharmed. We were mentally and emotionally traumatized, but the worst damage for me was spiritual. “God, I trusted you!” I cried, “WHAT HAPPENED?!”
We said we trusted God to keep us safe... and then He let that guy get into our house. Suddenly God felt unpredictable and untrustworthy.
“God, you were supposed to protect us!” And He did keep us from physical harm. But clearly His boundaries were in different places than my boundaries, and now irrational fear stalked me day and night. I jumped at every bump in the night. I refused to leave the house once it got dark outside. I started sleeping with a night light on. I didn’t want to be alone and I couldn’t sleep. But most disturbing of all, I was scared of God. How could I trust Him when He had let me down in such a terrifying way?
Little by little, my peace returned to me as I healed emotionally. But now I was faced with a big decision. I could continue to live as a slave to fear, always double checking locks and looking over my shoulder, or I could take another step closer to God and try trusting Him again, this time without strings attached, no conditions. I made a conscience decision. I cannot live with fear. I reject fear. I won’t let fear control my life. Either I say I trust God and do it with my whole life, or I don’t. Anything in between is hypocrisy. I can’t say I trust God and then wrestle the control from His fists. I have to be all in. I have to trust God even when bad things happen, even when God crosses my boundaries, even when He does things with my life that scare me. He may not be a tame lion, but He is good.
There are a lot of scary things out there in the world. There are myriads of “what-ifs” and unforeseen dangers. There are enough tragedies to convince even the most optimistic Polly Anna that leaving the house is a bad idea. So trusting the Lord is not sticking my head in the sand and denying the existence of evil. But I chose to make this my baseline. I evaluate all things through the lens of God’s goodness. I may not understand what He’s doing, but I can trust Him. And in that I find the freedom to do what He asks me to do. I don’t have to live out my days lying in a fetal position in a protective bubble. I can freely step into the future of all that God has planned for me.
Years down the road as I matured in my relationship with the Lord, this trust gave me the courage to say “Yes” to God’s call to go to the mission field.
Does fear control and dominate your life? You can be set free when you choose to trust in the goodness of God. “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6