Up until last spring, we had a horrible neighbor situation two doors down from us. The kids would taunt and bully our kids and their friends, and the mother was completely uninvolved in supervising them and intervening. We tried talking to her, but she wouldn’t help. Mostly, she slept all day, by her own admission. We tried befriending the kids, but it only backfired in our faces. We were hesitant to even let our kids play outside because we never knew when these kids would come around. We tried involving the police, but didn’t get very far there, either.
We prayed and prayed, begging God to intervene. We felt bad for the kids, who seemed to be victims of a very poor family situation, but we also couldn’t tolerate their behavior. We were very tempted to take matters into our hands, but felt like God really wanted us to just trust Him. It was so hard because we couldn’t see the end. We knew from public records that they could be forced to leave, but from what we understood, it would still be a while. It was a horrible situation and we even considered moving, even though we really enjoy our neighborhood otherwise.
Isaiah 50:10-11 has some very interesting things to say about situations like this:
“Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant? Let him who walks in dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment.”
Everyone walks in some type of darkness from time to time, whether it be from nasty neighbor, an illness, or unanswered prayer. What are we supposed to do in those times? Trust in God. Rely on Him and His character. Sometimes, instead of trusting God, we light torches so we can see better. We take matters into our own hands rather than relying on God to lead us through the dark. God says to those who do that, “Go ahead. Use that light from your own torch rather than trusting in Me. But look out. There will be consequences. You will lie down in torment.”
Are you tempted to create your own solutions to problems in life? Maybe it’s a difficult situation with your children or curriculum, or something with an extended family member. If you feel like you’re walking in darkness, don’t light your own torch. Hold God’s hand one step at a time and trust Him to get you to the end.
Our neighbors moved away sooner than we expected. We certainly weren’t perfect witnesses throughout the whole ordeal, but we made attempts at living in peace and we didn’t come up with our own solutions. God will take care of it. Just trust Him.