I felt myself tighten my grip on my cash when he demanded that I give it to him!
Split Second Decisions
Earlier this month, a stranger confronted 31-year-old Khrista Ibarolle and her friend with a gun demanding money and their car keys. Instead of complying they made a split second decision to run and it cost Khrista her life.
What would you do in that situation? Give it to him, right? Its just stuff. Stuff can be replaced. We know that. But here’s where a word of caution comes in. Knowing and doing, are two very different things.
But By the Grace of God
Twenty-five years ago, something similar happened to me. By the grace of God, I’m still here in spite of making a very wrong split second decision. I was running errands and had my son Joey in the car with me. He was about two years old at the time and was in his car seat. The ATM machine at my bank was off the beaten path, tucked behind the bank. When I drove up there was no one around except for a young man I saw sitting about 20 feet from the machine. My gut in no uncertain terms said, stop! This doesn’t feel right. But I ignored it. I had a long to do list and I needed to stick to my plan!
Sure enough, just as the money was coming out of the ATM this young man was in my face. I mean, to the point that I was bending backwards. He said, “I need that money and I don’t want to have to steal or hurt anyone.” And on that note, I felt my hands tighten my grip on the money and slowly draw those precious twenty-dollar bills closer to my side and out came this pitiful attempt at negotiating with a criminal, “I need this money but I might have some change…”
I know – so stupid!
At that very moment there was a loud long blast of a car horn that made us both practically jump out of our skin and then each of our instincts kicked in. Run! He ran one direction and I ran to the car. I was absolutely shaking. That was close!
So who was my knight in shining armor on that day so long ago? When I got to my car there was my toddler, Joey gleefully standing in the driver’s seat playing with the horn. He had somehow managed to wiggle out of his car seat, climb over the front seat and mischievously began honking. He had no idea that I was in danger. He was just playing with the horn.
I believe God intervened on my behalf that day and I’m here to tell the tale and share this important reminder in spite of my foolishness.
Ephesians 5:15-16 says this?
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
This verse is loaded with life application. What does it mean to walk circumspectly? If you examine the word circumspectly, you’ll see that it means to walk, watching all around you- to walk carefully and with caution.
We’re Not Immune
Paul is urging us to make the most of our time while we’re here on planet earth. We need to apply sound wisdom to all of our affairs – spiritual, financial, moral, vocational and physical There are people out there that want to rob us of our abundant life in Christ. We need to be on guard and we need to be careful.
Christians are not immune to harms way. We need to do our part – be on guard and be careful. It doesn’t mean that we can control staying out of harms way. It means we use wisdom coupled with common sense to stay in the game as long as we can. So what do we do?
We know we need to pay attention our gut. If it doesn’t look right or feel right, don’t go there.
We know if someone is in our face demanding money, give it to him!
We know the only time to resist with all your might is when an attacker is trying to force you into their car.
We know and yet in that moment it’s all too easy to let our foolish instincts kick in and do the opposite of what we know we should do. My instinct was to hang on to what I have. That was Krista’s instinct too. It’s my hope in sharing these stories that God forbid you’re ever in that situation, wisdom will prevail over faulty instincts.
Sound the Alarm!
While we’re at it, let me add this, it can’t hurt to carry a personal safety device. Pull the pin out and a siren as loud as an ambulance goes off. It may be just the blast of sound you need, like my horn honking, to get away. You can pick up a personal alarm like this one for under $20. It’s easy to carry with you when you’re walking, jogging or walking to your car in a dark parking lot. I l prefer this option to pepper spray because that can be taken away from you and used against you. Get one for yourself. Send one to your daughter! I did. I know she’s rolling her eyes at me right now but I’m used to that. I’m her mother!
I don’t share this to be overly dramatic or to scare anyone. It’s just the truth of living in a fallen world. We’re not supposed to go through life fearful. We are supposed to be careful until we’re safely home!
My husband likes to say,
Guess what happens when I die? It gets better!
And that’s the truth. But for now, God still has things for us here. So be careful out there!
Want to go deeper on today’s topic? Download the study guide. Someone you know needs to hear this. Who is that person you’re thinking of right now? Is it a friend, your daughter, a niece? Maybe someone in your church? God may have her on your mind for a reason. Maybe she needs a reminder to walk carefully out there. Maybe she needs an early Christmas or birthday present.
Don’t forget to be safe!