I prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king…. Nehemia 2:4
We have a bully who lives in our neighborhood. He used to be a good kid, and a friend of Zack’s. We even had him over for several play dates. I really liked him.
But something changed: He turned mean. Unfortunately, he made Zack one of his primary targets.
I’ve always wondered what happened to this boy to cause such a negative transformation. I believe he’s probably still a good kid at heart, but it’s hard for me to remember that when I want to flatten him for being so unkind to my son.
As fate would have it, our paths crossed this past summer.
I was in my car, by myself, going to pick up one of my kids. His little sister was running a lemonade stand on the corner. I pulled my car over to buy a cup.
As I did, this boy rode his bike right up to my window, took off his bike helmet, and said “Hello”” I was floored! I couldn’t believe he could treat my son so poorly, but be so chipper and sweet to me. Did he forget Zack and I were related?
Without thinking, I said hello back. Immediately after, I felt guilty and disloyal to my son. Then I was torn. The mama bear in me wanted to yell at him and teach him a lesson; the Christian in me wanted to rise above (But I have to admit, the Christian voice was a mere whisper compared to the mama bear roar inside my head.). As his sister took forever to pour my cup of lemonade, I silently prayed to God to give me the answer.
Then, like an out of body experience, I heard myself ask him, in a gentle voice, “Why do you pick on Zack?” He paused for a minute, and then said, “I’m just going along with everyone else.” From what Zack’s told me, I knew this kid was the ring leader; but I played along.
Then, suddenly, I heard myself say, “I know you’re a good kid; I know you have a good heart. You don’t need to do what everyone else is doing. You’re your own person. You can make a big difference, if you stop.” Then I snapped back to myself, and said, “Back off!”
As I drove away with my cup of lemonade, I had the strangest feeling. I knew what I’d said wasn’t from me. It was the Holy spirit who spoke through me: saying the exact thing I think that kid needed to hear.
School has been back in session for over seven months now. I routinely check in with Zack to ask him how the bullying situation is going. For the first time in years, not a single kid is giving him a hard time. It makes me cry tears of gratitude and relief every time I think about it!
Sure, it may be that the tide just changed on its own, and the teasing went away naturally. Or, I could pat myself on the back and think I was the one who resolved the issue.
But the real truth is: I got out of the way and let God work through me. When that happens, things always work out the way they’re supposed to.
Questions For Reflection:
* Is there a certain situation my child is struggling with right now?
* Am I taking action to solve it? Or can I pray for God to take action through me?