Friday, September 18, 2009

Pickpockets; I Can Only Imagine

Ever been "pickpocketed"?    I had not, until recently.   When I was, a big overblown show took place before I ever knew something was going on - something involving me.

The scene was an outdoor cafe in Vienna.    One of my colleagues and I were having lunch with a mission team member in Vienna, discussing the city, real estate, the Church, and the mind and hearts of Europeans.    The day was beautiful, the setting was ideal, and the feeling of everyone around was comfort and safety.

Suddenly, there was instant pandemonium.    Men were screaming, and 2 men jumped up from tables surrounding ours and took off running.    Our waiter took off running after one of the men, running at full speed and shouting at him, I can only assume saying "stop" or "come back".    I don't know for sure, as it was in German, and maybe another language or two.     When the waiter returned, he pointed to me and began asking questions.    The mission team member, astounded, finally understood and translated for me: "they took something from your pocket".    I was bewildered, astounded, and frightened.    After a few harrowing seconds that felt like an eternity, I finally realized that I still had my passport, my cell phone, and other important things.    What did the thief actually get?    A mass transit pass with about 3 days of value remaining.     But, he also took some of my confidence.    For much of the rest of the day, I was paranoid, fearful, watching my back.

It was all so subtle.    Two men selected tables close to ours.    They were dressed like many others.   They seemed to belong.    And they slowly, methodically, and boldly worked their way into our space, until finally they were close enough to take things that did not belong to them, to create chaos at the appropriate moment, and to escape with their "prize".

Was I harmed?    Not really, but in a way, yes.      But this made me think: "isn't this much like the way Satan attacks us?".      Comfortable settings, acting like he belongs, slowly working his way in.    And then, it's too late.   The damage has been done.    We were comfortable, and we never saw the attack coming?    Were we complacent?    Maybe.    Were we deceived?    Absolutely.     Kind of reminds you of the story of Adam and Eve, and the Serpent, huh?

Scripture tells us that "the devil prowls as a lion, seeking whom he may devour".      I have sat in my front yard and, with amazement, watched our cat at work.    Stalking, prowling, seeking her prey, preparing to pounce, preparing for the kill.     And a killer she is.    I am amazed how she gets birds to hold still long enough to get them, but she's close to a 10 bird killer: a double ace, at least.      The scriptural analogy is amazing to ponder.

So we watch.    Is the loss of confidence a bad thing?    Maybe not.    It hurts, but it also helps us keep guard.    And this is not our home, anyway.     Not losing your passport is a big thing.      God calls us to protect our spiritual passport: our ticket to eternity - our heart - our soul.     "Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life".     Proverbs 4:23.

Hang on to your passport.    The country we are travelling toward is a promising destination.     "Surrounded by your glory; what will my heart feel?    Will I dance for you, Jesus, or in awe of you be still?    Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?     Will I sing "Hallelujah"?    Will I be able to speak at all?     I can only imagine; I can only imagine." (MercyMe).

Mit Gott - "With God".

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