Ministry of Margaret Nelson
Uganda, Africa

October 5, 2009

Unless the Lord watches...

Psalm 127 is one of my favorites, which says in part:

    Unless the Lord builds the house,
    Its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    The watchmen stand guard in vain.

These verses are precious to me because I am slowly building a house in my village as God provides for it, and in the nature of such projects, it is not as secure from burglary and such as it should be. I do not take the protection of God lightly; I know He protects me. And as in these verses, and many others, I know that even if I had the strongest bars possible over my windows and the best security system in place, they could not prevent a determined thief. It’s only by God we stay safe in this world.

    No king is saved by the size of his army;
    No warrior escapes by his great strength.
    A horse is a vain hope of deliverance;
    Despite all its great strength it cannot save.
    But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
    On those whose hope is in his unfailing love.

    Psalm 33: 16-18

I had a great example of this recently. I’d had a meeting with my night guard because I’d found him being a bit careless on occasion. One day my gate had been left open because of traffic during the day, and the next morning I found it still open. If the guard had been doing his job right, he would’ve seen the open gate and closed it.

A few nights later, after the guard came, I heard noise at the gate, which is quite squeaky. There were no voices, so I figured (correctly) that the guard was making sure it was properly closed and locked. Then about 3:00 AM I was awakened by my dogs barking loudly, and seeing the guard’s flashlight beam. Then I heard him shouting, and I figured he was running a thief off ~ the village has been plagued with thieves lately.

But then I heard a motorcycle come to my gate, and more loud voices. Now motorcycles, which are used as cheap taxies, will never come into this village after dark because they fear the thugs who may rob them, and even steal their bikes. So to have one come to my gate at such an hour was an unheard of event! Soon, the motorcycle took off, the dogs quieted down, and I went back to sleep.

In the morning I asked the guard what was going on in the night. He laughed and said that there was indeed a thief. There were police on the motorcycle chasing the guy, and when he ran down my driveway, he didn’t realize it was a dead end at the gate ~ and he smashed right into the gate! That was when I heard the guard shouting the first time. When the police rounded the corner into my driveway, the thief frantically forced his way through the hedge on the side of the driveway, taking off through a neighbor’s garden, to elude the police. Then the police arrived, saw my guard on the other side of the gate, and thought he might be the thief! Luckily they recognized him because he’s also our village security man; he’s at the police station a lot, like when thieves are arrested. They told him this thief was armed with a gun and had robbed a house.

In all the years this man has stood night guard for me, I don’t recall hearing him secure my gate as he’d done that night (not to say that he hadn’t, I just hadn’t heard him do it). Had this police chase happened the week before when my gate had been left open, I would have had a live cops and robbers scenario right in my front yard, possibly with bullets flying!

Whenever people ask how they can pray for me, I always say, “Pray for wisdom, health and safety.” And as you can see, God does answer these prayers, and the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.

Thanks for praying!

Margaret Nelson