Over the past few months I've been talking off and on about how we're in the middle of trying to sell our current house, and how we're building a new house a short drive away from where we currently live. We're upgrading houses, and more importantly, moving to a neighborhood where we'll have a big yard with plenty of room for our son to play. The neighborhood also has a lot of other families with kids his age, so it should be a great place to grow up. We're also planning on having more kids at some point, so we wanted to move into a home that was slightly larger.
At the end of April, after months of preparation and discussion, we broke ground on our new home. Over the past couple of months we've been watching as the home grew from just a hole in the ground to the point where all the framing was complete, the electrical was in and the drywall was starting to be installed. The house was really starting to come together and we were getting excited.
Then this past weekend something horrible happened.
Our New Home Was Vandalized
At about 8pm on Friday night my wife stopped by the new home to take a look after her fitness class just down the road to see how the drywall looked after the first day of installation. She told me that the house looked completely different and that you could really start to see how the rooms were going to look now that the drywall was more than half done.
On Saturday morning around 9am we got a phone call from my wife's mother (her parents are also our builders) telling us that there was an emergency and we needed to get a hold of them right away. We had no idea what that could mean so we called back immediately. My wife's father answered the phone and told her not to worry because “we've already called the police and filed a report”. At this point we still didn't know what was happening, so my wife asked him what exactly was going on because we didn't know.
He told us that sometime between when my wife was at the home at 8pm on Friday, and 7am on Saturday when some workers arrived at the construction site, someone had gone through and done a ton of damage to the house.
They had smashed in a window and a patio door. They had also gone through the house and done a large number of offensive, satanic and drug graffiti all over the house.
We walked through the garage entrance into the mudroom to be greeted by a spray painted shark, a pentagram and the word “satan”. Walking into the kitchen there wasn't a ton of other damage on the main floor, except that someone urinated in our kitchen pantry.
On the second floor they had done paintings in the hallway going up the stairs, the master bedroom and in one of the other bedrooms. Among the drawings were things for an offensive and occult rap group called “Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All”, more satanic symbols, a swastika, references to marijuana and other drugs, along with other drawings we had no idea what they were. (see photos of the vandalism here)
Finding Happiness In Hard Times
The message at our church on Sunday was a timely one for us I think. It was talking about happiness, and how so often people spend their entire lives chasing after happiness, never really finding it. Our pastor made a comment that I thought was very important in that happiness is not something that you can chase after and catch, it has to be a byproduct of something else in our lives, namely a relationship with Christ.
One of the verses that he highlighted in his message was Psalm 1:
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. Psalm 1
The verse talks about how those who have a relationship with Christ, and who meditate on his law day and night, will prosper whatever comes. Like that tree planted by the stream, they may go through storms, droughts or other hardships, but since their roots are firmly planted in the soil, and connected to the source of life, they will always find that deep abiding happiness and contentment in Him.
Those who lead lives that are destructive and sinful, like the vandals that hit our house, are on a path that leads to nothing but destruction.
As angry as I was when I found out what happened at our house, I now also pray for those that did the damage. They're on an awful life path right now, and they need God. The damage they did to our home is temporary, but the damage they're doing to their own souls is even worse. I pray that they see the light and turn towards God.
God Is With Us, And The Damage Can Be Fixed
As much as I don't like going through things like this, I know that God is with us through it all, and the damage done to our earthly home is only temporary. God, on the other hand, is always with us.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:7-14
Even though the damage to the home was only done a couple of days ago now, much of it has already been repaired. Drywall has been replaced and some of the damage has been painted over. The window and patio door will take a little longer to fix, but that too will be completed in short order.
To me this has been a good illustration of just how temporary the things of this world are. A house can be built in a few short weeks, and be vandalized and damaged even quicker. Houses come and houses go – people live and people die. God, on the other hand, is eternal – as is our soul. The question is, are we giving the things of eternity enough thought, or do we become too focused on the temporary things of this world, that in the end are meaningless?
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed… So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 18
So as you go about your day today, where is your focus? On what is seen – or that which is unseen? Are you finding happiness despite the daily storms of life?