Scripture: “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
Before we paused a few weeks ago for our rest at God’s Way Station, our “bully” neighbor, Joda, had threatened to throw our baby sister, Julia, out of the wagon pulled by our sister, “Dena”. Our parents and landlady were at work during that time of the day.
After tearfully bounding up the stairs to inform me about Joda’s threats, naturally I hastily followed them down the stairs to try and rescue them from their plight and fight if necessary. I never “backed up” from a fight and never “picked one” except with both of my wayward husbands. However, it would be inappropriate to describe our fights here. By the way, they are both deceased. In case you are wondering, I can truthfully say that both died after our divorces. I was not involved.
Upon my arrival outside the apartment, I noticed a short, skinny, menacing looking girl standing in front of the wagon with one small hand on a tiny hip and the other on the handle of the wagon. Later, I learned that she was much older than I and was a member of what I supposed today would be labeled an organized gang. Being from small Monroe, Louisiana during that era, I was unaware of “gangdoms”. We had our disagreements among ourselves, fought if necessary, not as an organization, but as allies with friends or family members whenever the occasions were presented.
I prayerfully advanced toward Joda and loudly demanded of her to explain to me why she felt it was okay to claim my sisters’ wagon and worst of all, throw our baby sister “Julia” out of it?
We had an eye-war, that is, both parties stared at one another eye to eye for an unplanned length of time. The first person who lowers his/her eyes is classified as the loser. Joda drop her eyes first, released the wagon handle, slowly walk across the street and entered a house located across from our apartment. I had never seen her before but saw her again after we both were registered a few weeks later at Cole Junior High School.
Believe it or not, she and I never had any negative encounters again. Let’s fast-forward: during our high school years we attended a basketball game together. I learned much later that the reason I was never mistreated by others was a popular belief that because I was from Monroe, Louisiana, I could cast spells on them. The only city they had heard about in Louisiana was New Orleans. What they did not know was my real protector was God, who gave us his only Son in order that we who believe on him would be forever protected from hell’s fire and gain eternal life instead. What better protection could one receive?
My friends, did you know that whoever mistreats or treats kindly God’s people, they are persecuting or treating kindly, his son, Jesus Christ? He feels it just as we do (Matthew 25:35-40). Pray for Jesus’ and our persecutors. God is moved with the feeling of our infirmities, also (Hebrew 4:15). God willing, see you on the road next week.
Love, Jacquelyn Simmons