I remember the first time I stood up to a bully. I was 15 or 16 years old at the local library getting my work done after school before my dad would pick me up. Right beside me were two boys near the sofa close to the window. I had headphones on, but whenever I was in public, I lowered the volume so I could be aware of my surroundings and the people around me.
I heard the quarrel between two boys; one of the boys had brought his scooter in. They looked like 6thor 7thgraders.
“Give it back..” one of the boys said.
The other boy simply laughed, clearly having a good time watching the boy’s flustered face every time he reached for the scooter. The other boy – his “friend” – was too strong. I could feel heat flushing my cheeks, my pulse was raising, adrenaline kicking in. I knew its culprit.
“Excuse me,” I said as I took off my headphones and looked at the boys’ square in the eyes. They looked like deer in the headlights the moment that I spoke and dropped what I was doing.
“Stop being a bully and give back his scooter.”
I was probably just as shocked as the boys. The voice that came out of me didn’t have its usual soft tone. It was lowered and firm…the voice you would use to try to reach baritone notes of a song (Like Batman? Just kidding).
The boy with the scooter immediately passed it back.
“We were just playing.”
I looked at the other boy’s eyes, the look of shock and relief all mixed together in one glance.
“That’s not what it looks like.” I said simply.
“Stop being mean to each other. Have a good day.”
I don’t know why I added the last part. Part of it actually was that I hoped they had a good day despite being scolded by a teenager in a library. But really: all of me was hoping that both of those boys took something away from that day.
I hoped that the boy with the scooter would give more than he would take in his life and that the other boy: he would still have the courage to do the right thing when everything in life seems to go wrong. Both of the boys had headed out of the library. I went back to my homework and put my headphones on.
Like most people, we often see problems around us, complain about it, and sometimes we stand up for what’s right…
But a lot of times, we do nothing.
We either see it as a problem but shrug it off or hope it goes away on its own.
And when it comes to our inner struggles, it’s worse. We only commit 0% to 99% of ourselves to creating a plan to beat bad habits and find a solution.
Not even 99% commitment can break the vicious cycle that most of humanity goes through.
It takes 100%. We often hear that only 1% of the population actually achieve success and this doesn’t just apply to wealth.
The same goes with faith in God. You can’t have 99% faith. That other 1% is doubt. It’s doubt like reading scripture and still being incredulous about how miracles can actually happen without the logic and aid of science and concrete proof.
It’s 1% doubt that feeds our brain when things are going wrong with your life and you begin to question God “why me?”
Today’s testimony is about this struggle… the struggle of believing even when everything in the world seems to crash down. When everything in the world seems to go wrong.
Everything in the world will go wrong.
But take heart, there is some right to be found.
You need to believe in it: not 75, not 90, not even 99… you need to believe in it 100%.
July 8th – July 12th
Are you the God of life?
“I had to make a choice between my daughter or my wife,” Christophe told me as more of the family’s testimony unraveled before me.
Patricia was going to have her third daughter, but there were complications according to the doctors.
The doctors told Christophe that he would have a difficult choice to make. It was either Patricia or the baby. There was no chance of both being saved.
“I cried and cried,” Christophe told me. Here he was faced with the decision to choose the love of his life – his beloved wife – or their daughter.
“I was asking God…” Christophe continued.
“You are the God of life, not the god of death.”
I could feel the power in these words. It chilled me.
It was true. Many times, people equate the true God like the Greek gods of mythology which punished humanity out of revenge and spite…
Many times, we paint God as the statues we see in archaic ruins of Rome and Athens.
Christophe admitted to me: he was still struggling with his faith… to believe 100% that God was the God of life and of miracles.
“The doctors folded her clothes. They took off her ring. They gave it to me…”
The baby was saved, but for Patricia, all hope appeared to be lost.
She had no pulse. No heartbeat. There was simply a flatline on a heart monitor and Christophe left with tears as he went to comfort their two other children in the hospital.
You are the God of life…not the god of death.
It would have seemed to be the end. It would have seemed to be the final verdict from God.
But Patricia – she rose from her hospital bed. Her feet touched the floor and she walked out of the hospital room.
“I felt peace.”
People at the hospital looked at her in utter surprise.
How could it be?
It was a surprise to see someone from death rise up again… to be brought back to life.
“Impossible…” some of the nurses and doctors would say as she walked out to find where Christophe and her girls were.
I looked at Patricia and Christophe… speechless as they told me about their miracle. From my own human eyes, it seemed just as impossible.
But with God, all things are possible.
“When people asked me what it was like… I told them: I felt in total peace in the protection of the Lord.”
To me, it was still astounding. I would read about the miracles of people coming back to life. I even remember watching the movie Breakthrough with my Life Group at the theater earlier that year.
Miracles like people rising from the dead was like something from a movie. Miracles like these were still like fairytales to me, even though, in my heart, I tried to remember that God could do something as miraculous as what Patricia and Christophe shared with me. It still felt surreal.
It felt surreal until God made it a reality before my eyes.
I wanted to grow in my faith before embarking on this journey… and God made a way.
He brought me to a family that showed me exactly what 100% faith looked like.