He who watches over you will not slumber ... The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
Psalm 121:3, 5-6 (NIV)
What I'd expected to be an ordinary, quiet Friday night turned loud—and anything but ordinary.
Moments after my husband called from out of town, I heard a distinct "pop" outside.
It’s July. Fireworks, likely.
Disregarding the sound, I settled in for our nightly call.
A succession of feminine screams followed. Not happy ones.
Definitely not fireworks.
Cell phone in hand, I headed downstairs to the sidewalk that runs along the front of our unit.
“I think that was a gun shot,” I told him.
Seconds later, multiple squad cars zipped into the parking lot. A few ambulances and one ladder truck.
Word spread quickly among gaping residents who’d emerged from their cozy apartments to see about the ruckus. An angry exchange between a male and female resident had resulted in a fatality.
My complex the scene of a crime.
A couple hours later, the parking lot still ablaze in flashing blue lights, I followed the sidewalk closer to the location of the incident and stopped at safe distance. My gaze fell on a white sheet draped over the victim, lying on the pavement in a pool of blood.
Someone’s son. A slain boyfriend. My neighbor.
I heard sobbing, disbelief. Horrified, angry cries. Police tape marked the scene to keep onlookers at a distance.
With my back against a solitary tree, I gazed through the humid night at the swarm of first responders roving in and around the place.
I prayed. Often.
By 3:30, the chaos lifted and the campus settled back into its usual hush as though nothing had happened.
But it had. It was horrible and Mary couldn’t sleep.
At 4:00, I wandered back outside and walked around our complex, maybe to shake off the shock a little bit.
When I passed the spot where the body had lain, I prayed against the evil that’d occurred. I rounded a bend, tipped a watery gaze heavenward and was met with a mesmeric full moon yellowed by partial cloud cover in a hazy night sky.
“Yes, I saw it. I kept watch,” the Lord said.
The heaviness of God’ heart over what occurred fell over my soul. I felt His sorrow over sin and I welcomed His victory over death, His promise that this is not my home.
These verses in Psalm 121 assure me that God watched over me while I slept for the remaining hours until morning. He watched over the other residents, the first responders throughout their grueling shifts, the traumatized girlfriend, and families of the victim.
He'd kept his eye on you, too—wherever you were.
I take great comfort knowing God never slumbers nor sleeps. His eye is always on his people—ready with a shield, a promise, a provision.
But the fact of God's ceaseless gaze results in one of two distinct emotions:
Peace and discomfort—peace in times of trial or trauma, but discomfort because … what does our good Father see? Is there an angry storm brewing in our hearts, the seed of what could into a felonious act?
With regard to the shooting, how quickly we say, "Who would do a horrid thing like that?"
It wasn't the fact of a dead body in my direct line of sight that disturbed me most. It was the rage that fueled it.
God's watch extends beyond our physical being into our hearts. Our souls, the sacred residence of the Holy of Holies.
Does God's observation bring a smile?
Share a time when you were comforted by the knowledge of God's faithful watch-care.
When has "The Lord watches over you" made you squirm a bit?
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Until next time,
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✏️Here's a link to the talk I gave April 20th with a dear friend of mine. Shining Your Light in Brokenness has received 130 views!! May it encourage you in seasons of hardship and realign your perspective.