A tiny hand can fit in some surprisingly small spaces.
I found this out the hard way a couple weeks ago.
The kids and I were out getting breakfast. I ordered at the counter, doing that thing moms do when we reach down without looking to pat kids’ heads once in a while, just to make sure everyone’s still accounted for. Right as I finished paying and took my receipt, I glanced at my two-year-old and noticed he was eating something.
I bent down in a panic, worried he had gotten a penny off the floor… or worse. That’s when I noticed his little fist clenched around an unidentified object. I pried his fingers open and found a macaroon.
After a moment of investigating, I discovered there was a small opening, maybe two inches at the most, between the counter and the glass on the display window. Apparently he saw the macaroon at eye-level, reached his hand under the glass, and took it. Like he was at a cocktail party or something.
By the time I made my way back to the register to explain what happened and pay 97 cents for the stolen macaroon, he was making a big show of eating it. He shoved it into his mouth, letting crumbs fly everywhere and loudly saying, “Mmmmmm,” as he ate. He’s a character, that one.
The cashier and the customers in line behind me marveled at how his tiny hand fit through the gap, and how he even thought to do such a thing in the first place. My little man finished his macaroon and shouted, “That was yummy!” to his audience through a mouthful of crumbs. Everyone thought this was adorable. They all had a good laugh and agreed the incident made their day. Glad to be of service, folks. We’ll be here all morning.
I sat the kids down to eat and reflected on how quickly my adorable thief was able to make his move. He didn’t need much of an opening – the two-inch gap did the trick. And he didn’t need much time, either. I was distracted for maybe thirty seconds, and that was enough time for him to pull off his caper.
It was a fitting illustration of what a not-so-adorable thief had been doing in my life lately.
Here’s something that perhaps we don’t talk about enough: we have an enemy. The Bible makes this very clear. This enemy is a thief who stands ready and waiting for us to let our guard down so he can wreak havoc in our lives, and he’ll use whatever gap we leave open to do it.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 (ESV)
That morning at breakfast, I could clearly see areas in my life where I’d let my guard down over a period of time and in doing so, invited attack. I’ll spare you the details, because they don’t add to the story, but generally speaking, I was coming off a period of about two-three weeks during which:
• I let stress and worry over a big decision take center stage, rather than fully trusting God to lead this big decision. I lost sleep worrying about certain outcomes relating to this decision.
• I’d bought the lie that “Things are really busy right now, but they’ll calm down in a week or two. I just have to get through it. ” -and I’d put off drawing the boundary of Sabbath rest that has become incredibly important in my life.
• I’d let distractions dull my passions and diminish my purpose. (Notice I haven’t written here in about a month? Not a coincidence, not an oversight, but a direct result of this time.)
And all of this led to me walking around during this period of time with a major lack of peace. Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, fearful, and defeated. Unable to invest well in those around me, because I could barely keep myself afloat. Have you ever been there?
I was grateful to my adorable thief that day for opening my eyes to the work of the not-so-adorable thief who had stolen my peace when I let my guard down. It took that cute little hand, covered in sticky macaroon remnants, to help me see the work of this not-so-adorable thief in my life. Worth the 97 cents, I’d say.
Friends, whether we realize it or not, we are all fighting a battle.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
Over the summer I completed Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God study. She had some awesome stuff to say about this battle, and I want to share it with you here:
“Everything that occurs in the visible, physical world is directly connected to the wrestling match being waged in the invisible, spiritual world… Your real enemy – the devil – wants you to ignore the spiritual reality behind the physical one. Because as long as you’re focused on what you can see with your physical eyes, he can continue to run rampant underneath the surface. The more you disregard him, the more damage he is free to do. The enemy may be invisible, but he is not fictional. He is very real, and very persistent, waging war against us constantly. The effects of the war going on in the unseen world reveal themselves in our strained, damaged relationships, emotional instability, mental fatigue, physical exhaustion. Many of us feel pinned down by anger, unforgiveness, pride, comparisons, insecurity, discord, fear… the list goes on and on. But the overarching, primary nemesis behind all these outcomes is the devil himself… The enemy’s approach is cryptic. He keeps his activity so cleverly hidden that we almost forget his existence, or, at best, only recognize his presence in a theoretical, non-threatening way… We’ve become a culture relatively unaware of the enemy’s presence, unaware of his conspiracies to destroy our lives, unaware that he’s distracting us from reaching our destinies… Spiritual victory is directly connected to your ability to ‘undisguise’ the enemy. To uncover him, Unveil him, Unmask him. That’s half the battle. But it’s the half your enemy doesn’t want you to pay much attention to, because once you do, you automatically begin to threaten his tyranny in your life.”
Where might the thief be invading in your life lately? Start by looking for the places where you’re afraid, discouraged, angry, overwhelmed, exhausted, etc. Here is where we will find the enemy’s fingerprints all over the place.
When we notice our macaroons going missing (metaphorically speaking), we have a responsibility to open our eyes and identify the thief at work. We have a responsibility to pay attention and close up the gaps we’ve left open to attack.
We have a responsibility to do something else, too, and I’ll elaborate on that in my next post.
In the meantime, I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna work on guarding my macaroons… and keeping a closer eye on my two-year-old.