The small pane of glass nearest the door handle shattered inward with an explosive crash that sent shards skidding across the tile of the kitchen floor. A hand fumbled at the door handle, a muffled curse followed the discovery of the deadbolt’s missing key. A key would have made the job of breaking in much easier. As it was, there were only six more panes of heavy glass to go…
The fourth one didn’t break as cleanly, the edges stuck to the frame. The hand grabbed one of the fragments to force it through, and drew back with a louder curse. Blood rushed to fill the trench in the skin, stopped only by the shards of glass that still clung to the wound. But there was no time, the fifth and sixth panes were soon shattered, and the hole was wide enough to fit a thief…
We came back from the conference in Denver around noon on a warm October Saturday, drove with a friend back from the airport, and pulled wearily at last into our garage, ready to rest. I had been battling a lingering fever from mastitis, and our arms were sore from carrying thirteen pounds of baby and many more pounds of baby luggage through bus stations and airports.
But rest was not to be had. In one quick moment, at the sight of the smashed glass of the back door, everything changed. The next hours were a nightmare, the next days were a headache, the next weeks were a wearying trudge back toward a semblance of normalcy.
So much was lost. A desktop computer, two monitors, a thermometer. All of my cheap but treasured jewelry, tossed into a pillowcase. A Gameboy Color console with a Star Wars game cartridge (remember those?). Most tangibly gone was the sense of safety and security of home.
So much was left. For several days I would discover things that remained behind: our digital piano, a necklace or two that had slipped away from the pillowcase, the camera and data hard drive that Nathan had hidden on a whim before we left. Our kitty stayed behind, hiding inside the house despite the open front door. But the thieves also left bloodied glass on the rug beside our bed, and scarlet stains on the wall and floor and sheets and curtains, and a sense of their presence that will probably never really go away, no matter how hard I scrub.
On the way out of the house, the thief’s bleeding hand had grabbed my Bible from where it lay on the floor, set down on top of an Operation Christmas Child shoebox that we had brought back from church a couple hours before we left for Denver. A small, traveling Bible had gone with us to Denver instead of my Bible, because my Bible was too heavy, and too special: the front inside cover read “May God’s Word be the cornerstone of our marriage ~ 6/12/10”. But my Bible held the keys to the safe (as a ridiculous post-it note left on the safe helpfully pointed out to the thieves), and it is much easier to break into a safe if you have the keys.
For that matter, I suppose it’s much easier to break into heaven if you have the key.
It’s amazing what God will do to get his word into the world. That Bible would otherwise never have left my house, where it sat with no less than six companions of varying versions and portability. That Bible was safe in my house by my chair, but safe is never an adjective that should be attached to God’s word. It will not return empty, but will accomplish what he desires, and achieve the purpose for which he sent it.
There’s a story inside it, one that I hope they read. With a little imagining, you can picture a small pool between the rocks at the base of a cross, where the blood of a thief mingled with the blood of his nearby redeemer, from arms that were spread wide enough to fit a thief.
It’s amazing what God will do to get his Word into the world.
Melissa (Haegert) Dykhuis (’10) lives in Lafayette, Colorado, with her husband Nathan, cat Sophie, and sons Matthew and Jonathan. She graduated from Calvin with a physics degree and then got a PhD in planetary science from the University of Arizona in 2015. After years of science, she’s ready for science fiction again and is currently writing and editing young adult sci-fi novels.