Red hair flying behind me like a kite, mouth pursed in concentration, freckled-face turning red from the effort of racing across the playground. Yes! This time, I finished first against my classmates!
Jumping up and down, I turned around and looked in exaltation ready to see my friends cheer me on, only to hear, "Daddy long legs! Daddy long legs! Christine is a daddy long legs!"
The boys who had lost to me started the taunting. Used to being the winners, they squirmed around trying to divert embarrassment by ridiculing me, this carrot top girl who has just out-sprinted them all.
In second grade I'd experienced a growth spurt and as luck would have it, I towered over all of the boys in my class. Yes, I had red hair. Yes, I had freckles. Yes, I was a tomboy who loved to run, bat, kick balls, and shoot marbles. I didn't mind getting sweaty or dirty and I just loved to move and play hard!
But that name-calling slapped me side of the head. I never had dreamed I would be cut down like this. Quickly, I turned away with a brave smile. I went to the other side of the playground to hide the tears that escaped without permission. I would not give those proud boys the satisfaction of seeing how their words affected me.
Gladly, one of the swings was vacant, so I grabbed high on the chains, then I backed up ready for take-off!
Daddy long legs! What a silly thing to say! Why couldn't they tell me, "What a great run," or, "Way to go?" Tears of disappointment still streamed down my cheeks.
Childish pain, you might say, but pain none the less.
Today as well, I reflect on the manslaughter outside of a British church in London several days ago. The young man was a Christian. The very reason why he was the target of this senseless hacking by two Muslims. An eye for an eye? No way! What had this young man done wrong except go to his house of worship, serve his country, and love his family?
Oh, of course, that's right, he was a Christian. One of those who want to emulate Jesus and to live in the Kingdom of God here on Earth. Such a scarey kind of a person? No, I think not.
My heart goes out to his family. My heart goes out to the onlookers who cannot shake this vision from their mind. My heart even goes out to the two who blindly followed and took this action against an innocent victim.
Daddy long legs seems like eons ago to me. It also seems childish to even mention this alongside the slain man in Britain, who died as a martyr for his faith. But the fact is, the enemy of our souls starts the attempt to break us down starting when we are young. The methods subtle for some and overt with others, but that is the why of so much cruelty.
Each of us was shaped and formed purposefully as we grew in our mother's womb. We all had the stamp of love and approval on us. So, from the beginning, you were loved, planned for, and have a wonderful purpose here for the good of mankind; not for evil. Then later came other events and all those choices.
Our enemy, Satan, wants to twist our existence and cheapen us. He warps our viewpoint. Then he blurs our mission. We forget the sweetness of innocence, or don't look back when we exchange it for compromise. Then each choice on down the line becomes easier and easier as we slide the slippery path toward the ruin of our character.
According to Galatians 5:19 the immoral acts, when the devil tempts us to follow after the desires of our flesh are: "immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these." (NASB) Do any of these look familiar today?
Those of us who belong to Christ Jesus, when we come and give our lives over to him. We are charged to stand strong and not to be led around by our fleshly passions and desires.
Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (NASB) But against such things there seems to be a stigma in an increasingly secular world.
Today, God leans near to comfort the widow, and he caresses her young son across the Atlantic. The sight of flowers lovingly placed along the avenue speak to their hearts and give them comfort in knowing that others are grieving along with them.
God walks beside the homeless now raking through the tornado strewn rubble for their belongings. He sends help their way and helps to reunite victims, even to reuniting families to their pets. Others have to find a solace in their financial and personal loss.
God is the one who brings a balance. While Satan wishes to discourage, dishearten, and deaden the faith of men and women. The storm victims gain strength in their faith as volunteers, churches, family, neighbors, and organizations come with encouragement and aid. The hand of God.
Love, mercy, forgiveness, and compassion are God's nature: the antithesis of the disruptor.