I am fascinated by the armadillo and impressed with how quickly he can roll up into a ball and disappear. This week I would have given anything to be an armadillo.
School shootings, whether or not teachers should carry weapons, children killed by their parents, and lockdowns as a result of media threats have filled our Facebook news feeds. From the front line, many commentators are spot on. But when are we going to stop talking about it and DO something about it?
Bullying is an epidemic, and harassment is real. It isn’t just an issue with children. It’s an issue with humans. Children learn from their role models and not only do they bully their peers, but adults and teachers as well. Adults bully and harass each other and empower their children to do the same. In the school system it is nearly impossible to do anything about it because our hands are tied. Current methods and protocols allow limited consequences, and thus the epidemic grows.
Innocent, well-meaning people get caught in the middle. In the effort to keep the innocent safe, we put ourselves in jeopardy of serious consequences, and that brings me back to wishing I were an armadillo.
I have been reading about some historic and notable people who have withstood some serious challenges in history. My desire has been to figure out how to persevere and actually live to tell about it.
One of my “Ah Ha’s” has been that perhaps I am being allowed to go through abuse and mistreatment in order to be prepared and strengthened for a greater purpose. I’ve been trying to have the attitude that when people hurt me, they may mean it for evil, but God is going to use it for good. Joseph stood the test of time before he saw the greater good. Twenty-two years is a long time to wait, but while he did, he focused on getting to know God more and allowing him to be in control.
Ruth was faithful. Perhaps I am being allowed to go through my trial to be an example to others: not to quit when the heat is turned up. Even after losing her husband, she was meek, and submissive to her mother-in-law. Following Ruth’s example, I need to keep giving the control to God and following how he leads me in all that I do and say. It’s not about me.
The third story was about the physical trials of Job. Not only did he lose everything, but so did his wife. She become “guilty by association” in a sense. I can relate to that. In my life, I have, on many occasions, been the recipient of the consequences of others. But rather than have the “It’s not fair” battle with myself, I have forced myself to remember that like Job, I have been in the pit of despair, but in the end I will be like gold. I need to go with what I know, not what I feel because God is always good, even when He doesn’t seem good. Life is full of trouble, but I will not curse God and I will cling to the truth.
Esther’s story was “a God thing”. She took life or death risks to protect her family. She was a woman of great courage and God blessed her because she didn’t quit when times got tough. This makes me think of my babies. I am “a lover not a fighter”, unless you mess with my family. Then you had better watch out.
Although I can’t talk of the specifics of my last week, I can assure you that there were times when I felt the presence of Satan. The bible says that he “roams around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”, and I was his target. The Lord was good to give me fair warning and I quickly activated a small army of prayer warriors. As a result, he armed me with protection and sheltered me beneath his wings.
The issues from this week are deep. They stem from the very core of human nature, and how we treat people and how our focus over time has shifted. They are a direct result of a societal shift that does not make character, fundamentals, or faith a priority. People in general are not treating others the way they want to be treated- with human kindness and compassion. Until we change our mindset and train children, both at home and at school, to live by the fundamental principles of caring and hold each other to a high standard that includes consequences, I fear that things are going to get much, much worse.
So for today, I will remind myself to: stand the test of time, remain faithful, cling to the truth, and be courageous no matter what. I must persevere for the sake of the generation to come. May God be with me every step of the way.