This article was published in the Norwalk UMC newsletter in 2003. Thank you, Manny, for sharing it with your Orangethorpe UMC brothers and sisters!
THEY BROKE AND ENTERED the minister's office glass window. They ransacked the pastor's office, Christian Education office, my office, the altar, forced open the sound cabinets, the narthex and the ushers cabinets. Worse yet, they hauled away the steel safe where the church archives were stored!
Honestly, I was fuming mad when I saw the shattered glass strewn all over the pastor's office.
The offering/tithes envelopes, kids' bulletins, old bank checks and Bibles scattered as though a tornado had hit inside all the office areas.
At the moment when I first entered the office, I could not believe that I had gone to the extent of asking such questions as these:
Of course I was talking about the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the One who holds the vast oceans in the palm of His hand, the One who parted the Red Sea for Moses. Didn't He order the sun to stand still for Joshua?
If He ordered the annihilation of Achan and his whole family for disobeying the order not to steal anything from the enemy of Israel, (Joshua 7:1-26) then why did He spare those thieves and robbers of the most heinous kind that violated the sanctuary?
Now, of course, in my better moments, I know better. If I have learned something from God in light of this, it is certainly this: "The secret things belong to the Lord, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever" (Deuteronomy 29:29a).
There is a Day of Reckoning, the Judgment Day. "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the LORD our God who knows all things (Hebrews 10:30).
Such wisdom is beyond me. Only God can make things right.
Therefore, for now, let us not return evil for evil, for that is not our prerogative: it is His and only His.
The huge safe that was stolen had been given to the church by Eleanor Zimmerman before her death. The Trustees deemed it a safe depository for the "sacred documents" of the church and discontinued use of a bank safety deposit box. Three of the church trustees attempted one night to move the safe, and could not budge it; thus, they deemed it secure. Thieves, it appears thought the same safe to be full of cash on a Sunday night, but not so. Cash could be replaced, but not original blue prints, record of membership, baptisms, deaths and even weddings.
Now, the earthly civil authorities may yet apprehend those who committed this crime. But that does not mean that the unthinkable harm they did in a place of worship will be undone. The archives of documents alone compiled for over a century, now forever lost, are irreplaceable for their intrinsic worth!