God Who Thwarts Thieves


I haven’t had anything stolen in a long time.

For the past four days I’ve been at the New Attitude conference, enjoying lights-out preaching, joyful singing, and time with friends. But by the end of the third night I was ready to go home. Truth be told, I’m pretty much useless without Jen.

The trip home started smoothly, with a stop for lunch at Sonic and the obligatory tall coffee from Starby’s. But outside of Cincinnati things started to get a bit hairy. Rush hour traffic slowed us to a crawl. It was then that I detected the first murmur of discontentment in my heart. I wanted to be at home, on my couch, sipping a cool drink, not stuck in traffic.

Things got worse. The sky went black just as the traffic cleared, and rain began descending in biblical proportions. Not wanting to endanger the lives of the other nine people in the van, I slowed down to a meager 50 mph. The voices in my heart were not happy. There was no rejoicing from my lips.

We pulled in to our church parking lot at 12:15 A.M., almost two hours later than I had anticipated, and we still had to clean out the vans, refuel them, and return them to the rental place. I walked through my front door at 1:10 A.M., totally exhausted.

Five minutes later my phone rang. Who is calling me at 1:15 in the morning, I thought.

“Is this Stephen Altrogge?” asked an official sounding voice. I answered that it was.

“Do you own a Yamaha [scooter]?” said the voice. Affirmative.

“This is officer So-and-so of the Indiana police. Your scooter was stolen and we caught the person who did it. Can you come up and make an ID on the scooter?” The police were less than three blocks away.

Long story short: I got my scooter back, no scuffs or scratches. It was stolen by a drunk girl who needs Jesus. I was praying for her as they put her in cuffs.

As I went to sleep I marveled at God’s sovereign kindness to me. If I hadn’t been so late I would have been sleeping when my phone rang, and I’m not sure where my scooter would have ended up. I wouldn’t have been able to pray for the thief. I wouldn’t have been able to repent of my complaining. God ordained every detail of my day to both bless me and change me. Isn’t he good?

+photo by Ben Scicluna

  • http://www.boundless.org Ted Slater

    Great observations, Stephen. I need to keep this very thing in mind when seemingly bad or inconvenient things happen. The truth is that the Lord may be orchestrating these “inconveniences” to serve His higher purposes. They may even serve to bless me.

  • http://www.standingstraight.blogspot.com Claudia

    Good reflection and write-up. We had a similar situation occur several years ago. Our home was broken into and the police were able to catch the culprit. We didn’t press charges, with the request he come to church and bible study. Long story short, he gave his life to Jesus and is now an assistant pastor, and a great preacher of the Word!

  • http://his-wrath-is-satisfied.blogspot.com/ Meg

    Thank you Stephen for another fantastic post that has both convicted and challenged me about my constant inward (and sometimes outward!) grumbling about the ‘inconveniences’ of life! I so often want to leave a comment about how much I enjoy your blog.

    Claudia, that is an awesome story! Praise God for His amazing grace and kindness!

    Blessings from Down Under,

  • http://beeveestudios.wordpress.com Brittany Vaughn

    Wow, what an interesting way to look at it. How encouraging as well. I really like this because it has presented be with the challenge of praying for those, especially those that do wrong against me.


  • Stephen Altrogge

    Ted – If only I could remember that the inconveniences in life are really working together in God’s hands. I think I would be much more joyful.

    Claudia – That is an incredible story!

    Meg – It seems like so much of my complaining happens on the inside. I’ve got a filter that probably keeps most of it there.

    Bee – Glad you found it to be helpful!