By: Tim Sader
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. (Psalm 17:20)
When I first met my friend David we were in fifth grade and were in the same class through sixth grade so we also went to the same middle school. I haven’t heard too many people explain this awkward period of life in the most positive of manners and mine was no exception to the rule. Puberty makes us feel different in so many ways but when you add in a wheelchair to that equation things get very interesting. I was not on the list of the best person to hang out with to make you popular. In the early 90’s Hip Hop culture was the in thing to make a person cool or not. I could not wear baggy jeans and sit in them all the time every day and my parents couldn’t afford what was most popular. I did get a pair Nike Airs, a fitted Chicago Bulls hat and San Jose Sharks team jacket. I faked it so I might fit in but despite my best efforts I was never popular. Part way into seventh grade I got my first motorized wheelchair it was a positive because I could get around on my own again. Shortly after this I met Jim. My school aide was his helper to and we were immediately assumed to become friends. Jim had no arms or legs just a small nub and little foot he used to control his wheelchair with. The level of independence he had with so little to work with was pretty amazing. We tried being friends so he came and stayed the night at my house. Out of his wheelchair he could eat, drink, play video games and roll his body from room to room. We had fun this one time but soon I learned that he wasn’t a good friend. He used little things my mom said, my Mickey Mouse sheets and collection of toys to roast me every chance he could. At lunch we sat at opposite ends of the same table and soon all his friends picked on me to. I remember one kid would spit at me when he saw me and I never could catch him to teach him a lesson. Jim was my nemesis; we never gave up our friend façade but would fight the best we could any time we could.
I went through middle school hell dealing with Jim and his punk friends. I spent too much time afraid of their threats but eventually I wouldn’t back down from them either. Though I had many bitter troubles at this time I didn’t focus on it. My life was restored from the depth of my despair and the Lord was faithful to build me up whether I realized it or not. I was troubled mostly because of what was being said to me. They made me believe they were in a gang and I was going to get beat up or shot because of their angry words (Ps. 55:2-3). I’m not sure to what extent their threats were real but they stole my Bulls hat one time. I prayed to get it back and the principal found it in his locker. God’s great love was there for me; He delivered me from whatever trouble could have come my way (Ps. 86:13). Whether we are in heaven on earth or if we make our bed in the midst of Hell God is there (Ps. 139:8). I know God interviened for me a few times when I’ve been in the depth of my personal hell. Winston Churchill says, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” This is the most important lesson I might have learned in middle school. Just because we are going through hell doesn’t mean we have to get stuck in that place. The righteous may fall seven times but with the Lord we will rise every time. Jesus told us to love and do good to our enemies. If we get slapped by them to turn our other cheek to them. If they steal our coat to give them our shirt also without expecting them to return it. This is how we want to be treated so it is how we should treat others (Lk. 6:27-31). We don’t need to take revenge it is for the Lord to defend our cause and repay it when necessary. We should continue being descent to them and this will heap burning coals on them. Don’t be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:19-21). In middle school I didn’t follow all these rules; Jim and I were frenemies at best so when he had to move it was better for everyone.
Almost all of us have been mistreated by someone at some time in our life and it impacted us in some way. More often it causes bitterness to rise up in us and it leaves a bitterness in our soul that blocks us from being loved and loving others like we should. If bitterness goes unchecked it’ll lead us down a dark path where we will believe the lies that we are unlovable and that even God could never love us. He does love us and feels broken when we are bitter. We accuse Him when He is innocent of any crime against us. We treat Him exactly how we were treated and He don’t deserve it.
Lord we thank you for being there for us even when we are going through hell. We know that you will never leave or forsake us. If we have been bitter toward or angry at you please forgive us and help us to see that you are good. We also forgive the people who have hurt us and from this day we choose to free ourselves from the bitterness in our soul. Lord if we have been the enemy of anyone please forgive us and help us to make it right if we can. Help us to do good at all times and allow you to be the one to avenge the wrongs done against us. In Jesus name, Amen.
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