I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I have three sons. They are 3, 7 and 10. The oldest two ride a bus to a local elementary school while the youngest stays home with me while I work.
Yesterday, my oldest was clearly upset when he got home from school. For a while, he didn’t want to talk about it. When he finally did, his voice was tinged with anger and sadness both. He said that a girl on the bus had been mean to him. He carries a water bottle to school. On the way home, she took his bottle, opened it, poured it on his lap, and then told everyone on the bus that my son had peed his pants. Everyone laughed at him and the bus driver didn’t seem to care about what had happened.
When he told me about it, my first reaction was to call the school. Angry as I was with the student who had hurt my child, I was more angry with the bus driver.
But I didn’t call. Instead, I sat with my children and said, “Maybe we should pray for the girl who did this.” They weren’t sure about that. I explained that maybe this young lady didn’t know anything about Jesus or His love for her. I said I thought that it would be nice if, instead of being angry with her, we prayed that God would reach her heart and show her that it was wrong to be so mean. At the same time, I thought we should pray that my son could find a way to forgive her and show God’s love to her in his reactions to her.
In Genesis, the story of Joseph is recorded. You know that story, right? Joseph was favored by his father and hated by his older brothers. To be rid of him, the brothers sold Joseph to slave traders. Through a lot of trials, Joseph eventually rose to a high position in the Egyptian government. His brothers and father eventually moved to Egypt for relief from a famine, and his father died in Egypt. After his death, the brothers were afraid that would try to get revenge for what they had done. Joseph reassured them by saying, “You intended to harm me, but God instead intended it for good” (50:20a.) When we prayed last night, I thought of this verse. I asked God to take this one small act that someone had intended to harm my son and use it for something that would bring a little bit of good to the world.
He did that right away. I don’t know what will happen on the bus today or what will happen throughout the school day. But to see the peace on my boy’s face as he headed off to school this morning showed me that God was working. Even if the heart of that little girl isn’t changed, my son’s heart has been. He knows God is with him, and he isn’t afraid to face the day.
What is happening in your life today? What have classmates said or done that was intended to hurt you? How can you turn it around and use it for God instead?
Father God, I pray for the young woman reading this right now. Give her your strength as she goes through her day today. Use her to be Your light in this world. Remind her that she is beautiful and perfect in your eyes, and that You will help her accomplish great things. Show her Your friendship and love as walks beside You. In Jesus’ name, amen.