Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ODD (02/20/20)
- TITLE: They Think It Strange
By Phillip Cimei
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“Hey Goody two Shoes, so you decided to punk out on us,” yelled Butch loud enough that all heads turned toward Jimmy.
Butch was the leader, and of course, his swagger was more accentuated than his tagalongs. Shoulders back and head held high, he made a beeline or was it hornet line towards Jimmy. Jimmy’s continence sagged like a whipped dog.
“I hear the preacher’s kid thinks he is too good to hang around us now that he’s a “Christian,” Butch cried out as he held up two fingers on both hands, sarcastically accentuating the utterance “Christian.”
“Hey, Bu..Bu…Butch, “ stuttered Jimmy.
“The guys and I were gonna knock over that concession stand at the football field tonight. I hear its got lotta goodies. You in, or would Jesus disapprove?” Butch’s cheek drew back smugly as he turned to his cohorts in crime and winked.
“I…I…I don’t know, maybe,” Jimmy whimpered out.
“Let’s go, guys, we’ll see how much of a man this wimpy Bible-banger will be.” Butch and his friends high-fived each other as they slithered off.
That evening alone in his room, Jimmy wept. His head wagged a little as his lungs filled with the air of confusion. He bellowed out a sigh, lifted his head, still waging, and let out a heart-wrenching plea, “Help me, God, I don’t understand!”
Jimmy gave his heart to Jesus last Sunday and now feels ostracized. He was so excited and ready to take on the wicked world and make a statement for Jesus. But now he questions why that joy has left him, replaced with fear. His prayer was interrupted.
“Jimmy, are you all right? May I come in?” asked Jimmy’s father.
Tom, Jimmy’s dad, opened the door and donned that familiar “Father Knows Best” look. He walked over to Jimmy’s bedside, sat down, and wrapped his arm around Jimmy’s quivering shoulder. “I didn’t mean to interrupt your talk with God. I am thankful that you will go to Him when you have a problem. Is there anything I can do to help you out?”
“Nah, I am just a little upset,” Jimmy replied unconvincingly.
“Did something happen at school?”
Jimmy’s eyebrows shot up. He sucked in a quick breath and held it. He knew his father was religious and had a good relationship with God, but he was wondering if God had let him in on his new problem.
“Jimmy, I know what you are going through. I had the same problem when I first became a Christian.”
Jimmy let out a whimper, “You don’t understand, Dad, all of my old friends not only can’t figure out why I don’t want to go and do those things I used to, but they are making fun of me now, calling me, “Goody two shoes.”
Tom knew there would be trials of fire and that the devil was primed and ready to attack, especially this new convert.“Do you remember what I taught last Sunday?’
“My opening verse may hit home, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4 AKJV). I told everyone that it wasn’t easy to be a Christian; that those that don’t know Christ would think they’re an odd duck because they didn’t do the things they used to do with their old friends. Yes, your friends are young, and the things they do are against God’s teachings. And if they don’t change, they will continue down a path that will lead to greater sins. Now it is up to you to set the example.”
“But it’s so hard.”
“Jimmy, open your bible to 1Peter 4:12-13. God always has the answer.”
Jimmy read out loud, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
Jimmy tearfully looked up to heaven and said, “ I get it, God, thanks.” He looked at his dad with confidence and said, “Can I have a minute alone, Dad.? I need to make a call to some old friends. I want to hurl some exceeding joy their way.”
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