Tough Guys

“We’re gonna get you,” they threatened, shaking their fists at him.

My son could fight. He could fight without feeling pain. It was scary. Somebody like that could fight to the death. He had made some enemies, and they were ready to challenge him. When he reached the classroom and took his seat, they gathered in the hallway outside and taunted him through the glass window in the door.

It was test day. My son was an excellent student and usually did very well on tests. Not today. He couldn’t think straight. He could barely stop shaking enough to write his name on the paper.

“These guys are crazy. They’re gonna kill me as soon as I leave this room,” he thought to himself. He knew he was really in for it this time.

Several weeks earlier, he asked me why he was the only one to get in trouble anymore.
There had been a few incidents, and he was the one who kept getting caught.

“Mom, there was a bunch of us who did that stuff. How come they always come after me?”

“Well, son, now that we are a household of faith, God protects us and blesses us. You like that part, don’t you?”

“Well, yeah. It’s kinda cool.”

“That’s because we are lining up with God’s word — our speech, our deeds, even our thoughts. As we honor God, He grants us favor. I haven’t heard you complaining about all the good things that have happened.”

“No, ma’am.”

“Well, when we do things that don’t line up with His word, we know it right away. God keeps us on a short leash for our protection. That’s why you’re the one who gets caught. He’s not going to let you get by with that stuff anymore because He loves you.”

“That’s OK for you ‘cause you got all that religion, but it’s not fair that I have to suffer,” he argued.

“As long as you are a part of this family that is committed to God, you’re out of luck. You’ll get busted every time because it’s for your own good.

“Son, you are in church and listening to the word of God being preached. Why, you even sing His words in the scripture choruses! You will be held accountable for what you know. If you know better, but don’t do better, there is a price to pay.”

“Well, it’s still not fair!”

Now he was facing the beating of his life by boys who meant business. He knew he was in trouble.

He doesn’t remember what he wrote on the test paper or if he wrote anything at all, but he does remember what was running through his mind. It was a scripture chorus from church.

               The Lord is my light and my salvation.
               Whom shall I fear; whom shall I fear?
               The Lord is my light and my salvation.
               Whom shall I fear; whom shall I fear?

               The Lord is my strength, the strength of my life.
               Of whom then shall I be afraid?

               The Lord is my light and my salvation.
               Whom shall I fear; whom shall I fear?

It was all he could think of. It played over and over and over in his mind until the bell rang and shook him out of his rumination. He waited to be the very last one to hand in his paper. He dawdled, dallied and lollygagged in very slo-mo as long as he could. Then came the moment of truth.

He summoned up his courage, opened the classroom door, and looked up and down the hallway. Nobody was there.

“They’re waiting around the corner,” he speculated.

When he turned the corner, nobody was there. Not outside, not on the bus. Where did they go?

When he arrived safely at home, he was still shaken up. The story tumbled out of him.

“What happened? Where did they go?”

“What happened was God’s protection. You called on Him by quoting His word back to Him, and He honored that. Your prayer was heard and answered. As for where they went, well scripture addresses that in the Book of Psalms.”

“Where? I want to see.”

“Here it is. Listen.”

“For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.” — Psalm 37:9-10

“That’s amazing! It really says that right here! You mean this stuff really works?”

“Yes, it works. God does what He says He’s going to do. His word is real. If you put Him first, there is no limit to the outpouring of His love in your life.”

“Hmm. That’s neat. Thanks, Mom.”


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