Never Alone

Last night I was robbed at gunpoint at the restaurant I work at. It is one of those things that falls under the category of “that will never happen to me”. It happened. I still cannot believe it happened. The range of emotions from the moment I saw the gun, until now have flooded my body with adrenaline and hormones. I have settled now into a place of calm mentally but my body is physically still catching up as I have a knot in my stomach that won’t go away. But as John 16:33 states – These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.

I have been surrounded by scripture today and I feel secure and safe in God’s hands. God gave me the strength to get through those moments with a calm presence – Psalm 31:24 – Be strong and let your heart take courage all who hope in the Lord- and a clear mind – Isaiah 41:13 – For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” The man encountered two female employees at the bar first and ushered them into the kitchen where I was coming out of the office. He asked who the manager was, and I told him it was me, and he told us to get in the office. When I saw the gun my first thought was, I might die tonight, but if I do it will be okay. John 5:24 – Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment but has passed out of death into life.

In my mind, I went straight to prayer with God, just a simple, “Lord I need you, be with me please”. I was able to calmly talk to the man and to calm down the employee who was crying and distraught. I just said, it is going to be okay, he doesn’t want to hurt us, he just wants the money, calm down, it is going to be okay, no one is going to get hurt. I was able to quickly give him the money from the drawers in the safe and put it into a bag. The whole incident from the time he walked in until the time he left only lasted three or four minutes. I have imaged before, what would I do in this situation. Working in a restaurant, we are trained on what to do, basically always give them the money as quick as possible and don’t put up a fight. In thinking of different scenarios though it can never prepare you for the actual event. My calm didn’t come from any other source except my Lord. Exodus 14:14 – The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still. I praise God for giving me that stillness in those moments.

After he left we locked the office door and started making phone calls. I called 911 while one of the girls tried to call the cooks who were still in the building who had no idea what had just happened. I wanted to make sure they didn’t encounter the man and get hurt. We couldn’t reach the cooks by phone so I went out of the office and found the cooks and told them we had just been robbed.. The instinct of those protective boys sent them running to try to find the gunman, but I told them not to go outside or try to find him, to stay here with us. Another blessing the Lord orchestrated I believe is that those cooks weren’t aware of what was going on. Because being the protective guys that they are, they may have tried to do something heroic which could have gotten someone hurt. Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Today, after much prayer, scripture reading and reaching out to a few close friends who I knew would pray for me, I am turning my thoughts toward the man who did this. What must HE be feeling today? He is probably more distraught than we are. What happened in his life to get him to this point? He repeatedly said he was sorry. I don’t know if he will ever be caught. I don’t really care honestly. I DO hope and pray that he will be lead to the Lord soon. God has given me a soft heart towards him. Ephesians 4:31-32 – All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. This scripture is not about the robber’s wickedness to be removed it is about MY need to not hold bitterness or anger toward him and to forgive him, immediately, which I have. The Holly four years ago would not have reacted this way. But now I have seen the greatest example of love and forgiveness from my Savior.

The man has not sinned against me, he has sinned against my God and He is the only judge that is worthy to deal with him. I pray and will continue to pray for this man. He was nervous and scared I’m sure, and today he is probably contemplating a lot. He is probably reviewing last night’s events play by play just as I am today. Yet I doubt his conclusions are the same as mine. My thoughts lead me to this and this is one of the scriptures that popped in my head last night during this ordeal. Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you – this is the Lord’s declaration – plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Oh how I hope this man will come to know what that feels like. Because I don’t think he feels like he has much hope or a future. I pray that he will repent just as I need to daily – Psalm 51:1-4 – Be gracious to me , O God, according to your loving kindness; according to the greatness of your compassion. Blot out my transgressions and my sin. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sins. For I know my transgressions And my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, I have sinned And done what is evil in your sight, So that you are justified when you speak and blameless when you judge.

When I finally left the restaurant after hours sitting inside with police and detectives and dealing with the home office and bosses, I sat in my car and turned on the radio. The song that was playing was Be Near. Just that one line, “be near O God be near” I repeated over and over and what a comfort it was! Even in the song choice of the radio station at that moment showed God’s hand in ALL of this. He was there the whole time and will continue to be there for me and anyone else who reaches out to Him. Grow your relationship with God, do it now! He loves us and His words and His guidance are all we need. The money that man took might as well have been toilet paper, because it is worthless. Those pieces of paper don’t matter. How we live our life for God’s glory matters. How we accept Jesus as our Savior matters. God is sovereign over it all and the more we gaze at him instead of gazing at our “problems” the more we will be enriched with his love and mercy and grace!