“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9
Faith is a many complicated thing; complicated and sometimes incomprehensible— like that sentence— and the scriptures have much to say about it. I think sometimes faith is just being strong enough, angry enough, and brave enough to fight, to say; “Enough is enough, I am done allowing myself to be pushed around anymore!”
This is going to sound like a story I stole straight from the Movie; A Christmas Story, but like all of my stories, it is 100% true and accurate— at least according to my memory.
Last week I told you about how I cracked the windshield on our Moto-Ski snowmobile with my Minnesota Vikings stocking cap clad head. That reminded me of another story involving that hat. Actually I wore that hat a lot since, like I told you, winters in Minnesota lasted a long time.
When I was in the fourth grade I usually walked home from school, Garfield elementary in Cloquet MN. It seemed like a long way but I suppose it was a half mile or so. This year the walk seemed especially long because some kids decided it would be fun to follow me home every day and throw snowballs at me every chance they got. If there wasn’t enough good snowball making snow, rocks would work just as well.
There were three of them— I didn’t even know them, we weren’t in the same class and I have no idea why they didn’t like me— they were just bullies looking for sport I suppose. And I was the lucky winner. This wasn’t unusual actually. I was always big for my age and all throughout school if anyone wanted to prove they were tough the quickest way to do it was to pick on the big guy. I never had any desire to get into fights and I was usually good with my words so I didn’t have to— most of the time.
My mother and I had even gone to the principal’s office together a couple of weeks earlier, meeting with these boys there but he hadn’t taken it seriously and refused to do anything, this only emboldened the boys and made things worse.
I don t remember how long this went on but one day I decided enough was enough and rather than running, ducking or even trying to ignore the taunts and the rocks I decided to make a stand. So as the boys were feeling a little braver and getting closer to me I turned aside from my usual route and stopped in the middle of an empty lot and let them close in on me.
I don’t remember what was said but they obviously thought they were pretty tough. It was obvious which one was the ring leader and which ones were the toadies, toadies only repeat what they hear the ring leader say. As the head bully got in my face I grabbed him and threw him to the ground and sat on his chest pinning his arms with my knees. I’ll never forget the look of utter astonishment and fear on his face as I looked down on him with my best young barbarian glare of death while I raised a clenched fist menacingly over my head while realizing that I could now pound his face to a pulp if I so desired.
But I didn’t— just seeing the look on his face and hearing him scream like a little girl was enough. Those screams were mostly for help from his minions who were standing on either side of us looking just as shocked. I started getting a little nervous when he started yelling for his toadies to hit me in the head with a rock as I was just sitting there relishing the moment. Either minion one and minion two couldn’t find a sufficient rock- or they just didn’t have it in them to bash me in the head- but they decided it was sufficient to snatch my prized Vikings stocking cap off my head and run.
This actually worked because I jumped up and went after them leaving whimpering Bully boy to run home to mommy.
When I got home my mother wanted to know where my hat was so I told her what had happened. I told her that I had handled it but I really wanted to get my hat back. I had no doubt that my hat would end up at bully boy’s house so I talked my mother into going over there with me to demand my hat back. That wasn’t a pleasant experience either as we found out why Bully boy was so ornery, he got it from his mother.
Long story short we got my hat back and I changed schools a week later, even though I had put an end to the problem, it was time for a change of scenery. My work was done here.
Bullies are nothing but cowards that just need to be faced down.
As children of God and citizens of heaven we need to have that same mentality when it comes to the ruler of this present world, the enemy of our souls. Sometimes faith is facing the enemy, facing the challenge before us even though we aren’t sure of the outcome.
I didn’t know if I was going to win that fight, but I knew it was a fight that had to be fought and that even if I lost I had stood my ground.
There was a man in Jesus’ day who had lost his son to a bully, the enemy of our souls himself. He decided one day it was time to put an end to it and brought his son to Jesus. Even though his faith was lacking, as we saw in our opening verse, he knew the one he was bringing him to was able. He had enough faith, and courage, to bring his boy to Jesus. He stood up to the enemy, and the enemy fled.
You deaf and mute spirit,” he (Jesus) said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” Mark 9:25
The enemy fled and he even got his hat…I mean, his son back!