Hungry Locusts

SCHISTOCERCA GREGARIA

“And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten.”

Joel 2:25

 
 
 
photo: BBC Nature
 

When I was in grade school, I had to leave the small private school I was attending and go to the local public elementary school. It was not really my choice, but a financial necessity. I was uneasy about attending, as I knew no one there….That is where I met Jett.

Tall, thin and gangly, he had a mean mouth and mangled black hair. He had long thin fingers that he used to pinch, poke and point at anyone unlucky enough to come within his grasp. Harsh to most people, Jett was a master at digging out the thing that you were most insecure about…which was just about everything for me. Yup, this boy took one look at the small, shy and awkward waif that was me and he knew he had his next victim.

Jett took great pleasure embarrassing me in front of other kids. He would trip me, pull my hair, call me names and once smacked me really hard in the chest.  As a young girl who was just beginning puberty, it was extremely painful and mortifying.  I could never understand why he hated me so much, and I tried very hard to either avoid him, or be nice so he would leave me alone. His bullying just deepened my insecurity, and I cried frequently about it.  I didn’t allow anyone to see how upset he could make me because I didn’t want to be further teased.  Alas, the abuse lasted through elementary school, but finally it was time for middle school… and all students were districted to various schools…Jett did not go to mine. Whew…..

Over the next couple of years, I grew up a little, developed a thick skin and became rather jaded and hard-hearted myself.  Which was in some ways a good thing, as who was redistricted again, but to my high school come 9th grade? You guessed it, Jett.

Strangely enough, he stayed away from me, seems he had his hands full being the “new” kid this time.   As my 4 years went on in school, I became active in sports and scholarship and developed some popularity and so was rather impervious to the Jett’ s of the world.  But I never forgot the lesson his bullying taught me, and as a result kept my heart pretty tucked in with most people.

Fast forward 20 years later, I attended my high school reunion, which was held at a restaurant/bar in my home town. As I made my way through the crowd, enjoying the renewal of old acquaintances, I noticed or rather felt a man staring at me from across the room.  He was holding arm crutches, the permanent kind that wrap around your forearms. He had a metal brace on his leg. His body looked broken and bent and it was clear he could not stand straight.  The man had heavy dentures, which was odd, as he appeared to be young.  His jaw was misshapen and his skin was scarred in places, as if it had been torn badly. Fussing and clucking over him was a young woman of a different nationality, speaking Spanish and clearly bossing him around.

The man continued to stare at me. Looking up, I noticed his eyes were wet with tears. He said something to the woman. She looked at me and walked over and spoke my name in English. She asked me to come with her. Confused and curious, I followed. She introduced me to her husband.  It was Jett. I was shocked to see him, and could barely recognize him. Upon seeing him though, my little kid internal defenses returned.  I braced for a negative comment from him.

Strangely enough, he was happy to see me!  He smiled and reached out to shake my hand.  He suddenly exclaimed, “Meeting you here is an answer to my prayers!”

“Excuse me?” I asked incredulously.  My head was reeling and I was trying to figure it all out.  I just wasn’t sure of what to think.  Then he caught sight of my necklace, a silver cross my mother gave me a year previous.

A big smile came across that gnarled mouth and he asked,  “Why do you wear that, the cross I mean?”

My hand quickly went to the dainty cross at my throat protectively and I wasn’t sure what to say.  So I gulped and told the truth.  “I wear this as a reminder of who I belong to.” I answered.

“I knew it!  I could tell.”

“Tell what?” I said again.

“You are a believer aren’t you?” He asked.

Ok, I was really confused, but yes, I had become a follower of Jesus Christ only a couple of years before and I was still very young in my own faith. I nodded yes.

“Me too!” he exclaimed.

Jett clasped my hand in both of his and proceeded to explode with details of how he found his “new life.”  He was in the military, stationed overseas. He met his wife there.  He was an alcoholic.  He had been in a horrific accident. In the laborious process of healing his body and dealing with anger, and through the love and mentoring of his then girlfriend, (now wife) he had met Jesus Christ.

“I never knew how dried up my life was back then.  I knew I was self-destructing, but I didn’t know how to stop it.” He told me that for the first time in his life, he finally felt alive and was so thankful to be here. I couldn’t help look in wonder, as what I saw was a totally broken body that would most likely remain that way the rest of his earthly life…yet, he was completely filled with joy.

Jett told me he had wanted to find me for years and apologize for all the pain he had caused me.  He asked my forgiveness.  I was stunned, but now it was my turn to cry and of course, I easily gave it. The three of us talked for what seemed like the whole evening, as Jett told me about the pain he had experienced as child, in his own home, at the hands of a parent. All those years of hurting others was his response to being hurt.  That doesn’t make it right, it does make him human.   As I left to return home that evening, I said farewell to Jett and his wife.  It occurred to me that though he sought my forgiveness, he too gave me a gift.  My heart was cleaned of resentment and unforgiveness I had harbored all those years toward him.  Unhappy school girl memories faded. God knew what both of us needed.  His gift to us, and ours to one another?

Restoration. Which was in His will all along.

James 5:6 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

 John 5:4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Acts 3:19-2119 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.

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2 thoughts on “Hungry Locusts

  1. It is extremely beneficial to express what upsets us. It is great that you and Jett made amends, but what do you think a supreme beings, place in it was? Do you believe a higher power had something to do with you seeing him again? Do you believe you were meant to suffer due to Jett’s own weakness? You admit that what Jett did to you wasn’t right, but can god do wrong, and isn’t he in control?
    Something has to give…

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    • Thanks for reading my blog and even more thanks for the comment. I understand your sentiment, and honestly, several years ago would have likely agreed with it. What I think you are really asking though is the question all humanity asks, which is If God is in control, how can a “good” God allow “bad” things to happen? With all due respect, I think we all get hung up on this question because our view of God’s character is inaccurate. Yes, I do know that God is in control, the scriptures tell us that He is in the small things as well as the big; the good and the bad. One cannot study the Old Testament and all the trials of the Jewish people without realizing that God allows the bad in this world.

      But why allow it and why does it happen? God is not some wizened old grandpa sitting up on Mt. Zion pulling levers on the lives of humanity. He created us to be relational with Him and each other. He created us to have free will. Think about your most intimate friendship…what kind of relationship would it be if you had the ability to force the person to care for you? No relationship at all. So, it comes down God’s love for us and His desire to give us free will. We have choices. We can choose to love God or not. When we choose Him, we give God access to our hearts and wills and He will use that for His purposes. What happened to Jett as a kid wasn’t his choice. But what he did to me (and others) was his choice. It trickled down to me. It affected me too. But, God created us for bigger stuff than the miseries of this world. He created us to love others as God loves us. Unless we have God in us, we cannot even begin to love each other.

      Several years ago, through a series of events that brought me to these conclusions, I made the choice to stop trying to live in this world apart from Him. Apart from belief in Jesus. When I made a different choice, I became different. I was able to see the hardships and the joys of life differently…and more importantly, learn from them. Does that mean I stopped sinning and hurting others? No. It does mean that I do it less, because I am trying to live in God’s will, not my own and that is why God wrapped himself in flesh and came to live amongst the sad self-destructive humans that we are. He didn’t have to. He did it out of love. Scripture tells us God Is Love. It is love that motivates everything He does. Since the wage (cost) of sin is death how can we pay the wage? We don’t have to, because Jesus paid it for us.

      I am sure you aware of the scripture John 3:16…but there is more to be said than just that one verse. John 3:16-20 tells more…

      For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.

      When bad things happen, I still ask God “why”. More importantly, because I made the free-will choice to give my life to Jesus, I can be forgiven for my bad choices and hopefully, because of God’s empowerment, not my own, make less of them. Jett’s life changed after he made the same decision I did. I am certain God wanted us to meet up after all those years. God knew, even more than we did, that there was still healing that both of us needed. It is too incongruous of a happening for it not be divinely appointed. That said, in resolving the hurts of the past, we both were reminded what kind of God we serve. A relational one. One who loves us. One who, like a Father, hurts when His children hurt, and desires for that hurt to be allayed. Not by our own power – but by His.

      I dug up a link for further discussion on the “good and the bad” if you are interested in more thinking.

      I am glad you don’t shy away from the tough questions. That is what a forum is supposed to bring out.
      Blessings on you, brother.

      http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2012/07/why-does-god-allow-tragedy-and-suffering/

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