Peaceful sleep sounds echoed from my husband and two youngest children. Even the dogs were sleeping. My Bible was open, along with my copy of Tabletalk magazine and my notebook. My coffee cup was in arm’s reach, sitting on a calico mug mat that my ten-year-old daughter made in sewing class.
That morning, my prayer time stopped at the concentric circle labeled ‘neighbor.’ I was praying for my immediate neighbor, whose house I could see from my writing desk.
I love waking up and seeing the familiar van parked in the same spot, and as the sky yawns open, the house and people in it unveil their morning rituals (lights on, dogs out, paper retrieved, a wave of greeting, maybe a child running across the street to return a Tupperware or deliver a loose bouquet of red peonies).
Loving your neighbors brings comfort and peace.
So there I was, praying for my neighbor. A typical morning. Except that the phone I had turned off, which was in the other room, continued to receive text messages alerting me that something was terribly, dreadfully wrong in the house across the street. The house of the man for whom I was praying.
And then I noticed it: burly men ducking around the back of my house, wearing orange shirts marked DEA—Drug Enforcement Agency.
What does the conservative Bible believing family who lives across the street do in a crisis of this magnitude? How ought we to think about this? How ought we to live?
We could barrack ourselves in the house, remind ourselves and our children that ‘evil company perverts’ (see 1 Cor. 15:33), and, like the good Pharisees that we are always poised to become, thank God that we are not like evil meth addicts.
We could surround our home in our own version of yellow crime-scene tape, giving the message that we are better than this, that we make good choices, that we would never fall into this mess.
But that, of course, is not what Jesus calls us to do.