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Owen was quiet and thoughtful on the way home from church last night. When I asked them all "...who had a good time?" he was hesitant and finally said, "I had a bad night in ministry team."
Nine years of lanky growth and not a bit of it strong enough to hold back tears. Teasing kids who have no reason to despise, but so many reasons to get out the frustrations they have never found any logic for.
There is no reason. No reason for the shame they've endured. No reason for the pain they've battled or the questions no one will answer. Impatience, tiredness, weariness defines parents and kids lash back at other kids.
But this time they struck my heart and coals are flashing, but I find the Word to cool them before I speak.
It is so much easier to find forgiveness when I'm hit directly. So much harder when they've lit fire to my heart on the outside where I can only watch.
I still know the Truth though. I know the way to fight with faith instead of fire.
I know the way to sing instead of scream and I know the way to comfort instead of confront. I give Owen my arsenal...all at once...in line after line of lessons learned, Scriptures seized and understanding unearthed.
It was probably too much, but I couldn't stop. Not because I want to bolster him so much, but because I want to free him. There is a spiritual battle and there is an emotional one. We need weapons for both.
I had a boy at my church that used to try to pick on kids smaller. Younger. He picked on his sister mercilessly and I knew what not to do. She cried, whined, tattled, and it never stopped anything. One day he turned his misguided aggression toward me with a hard pinch to my arm.
I remained stoic.
Again he pinched harder and asked..."doesn't that hurt?"
"No," I lied.
He continued to pinch harder and harder, but every attempt was met with painful stubbornness from me. No...I would not cry. I focused on the more difficult effort of keeping my tears off my cheeks and refused to even look at him.
Eventually, he gave up.
His fingers could not pinch any harder.
He had hurt me, but it wasn't hurt he was after, it was my reaction.
That boy never picked on me again.
I spoke to Owen last night, and again this morning, asking God to give me Scripture during our reading time this morning.
"For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved." Psalm 21:7
We talked about being unmoved. The enemy can only pinch so hard. He has a limit. Trust in the maker of limits and don't quake, don't even flinch. He only wants your reaction.
Then the mercy. David teaches us who sin is always out to get.
"Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." Psalm 51:4
When the weak hearted come against us, they are like David, they are sinning against God. They are breaking His commandments first. Despising love for God and their neighbor. He is offended first. He must be allowed first vengeance and we must forgive and pray for redemption. We must trust in His mercy.
Off to school with a myriad of words hung round his neck like sachets of some sacred herb to ward off evil, and I pray. I pray he remembers the scent of truth and practices love at every turn. I pray he is protected, but not so much he never has to fight. I pray he learns to stand up for God before himself. I pray he learns to speak and not to sulk. I pray he learns to be unmoved, and that his reaction is drawn from deep, deep within. Past the frightened and frightful matter of soul and self and straight from the depths of the Spirit made alive in Christ.
As I drove home with only one charge left in my mini-van, I found myself singing again.
"This is my Father's world...Oh let me ne'er forget...that though the wrong seems oft so strong...God is the ruler yet." -Maltbie D. Babcock
He is. He is Forgiver and Friend, Creator, Redeemer, Savior. He is so, so many things, but let me never, ever forget, He is the ruler yet.
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