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cowboy boots

photo courtesy of famousfootwear.com

First grade was by far the worst year of my childhood education. I disliked my teacher, I hated studying, I abhorred having to sit still at a desk for hours on end. Pure torture for a six-year-old boy used to having his way in the world.

And there were the boots ………. my cowboy boots. I loved my boots but they had one very bad drawback – they were difficult to put on. I could never quite get my heel all the way in without having to stomp my foot on the floor.

So there I was sitting quietly at my desk, minding my own business, reading my lesson when my foot began to itch …………..

I did what any first grade boy would do………… I pulled off my boot to scratch my foot.

After the itch was gone, I put the boot back on. Same problem as always, I couldn’t get my heel all the way in. Soooooo………….

I did what I always did. I started stomping my foot on the floor to get the boot on. What was wrong with that?

Apparently a lot. The next thing I knew, there was a painful tug on my ear as the teacher drug me out of my seat and into the hall. And there I sat for the rest of the afternoon, all because on an itchy foot.

So much injustice in the world………..

If there was ever anyone other than Jesus who had a case against God for injustice, it would have to be Job. He was “upright and blameless, he feared God and shunned evil.” Even though he did nothing to deserve it, God allowed everything he had to be taken away: his home, his family, his livestock ………. and lastly his health.

But Job’s response?

Job 1:21-22

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

We all learn by example. We watch other people and emulate their reactions to certain situations. Job’s response to a bad situation was a positive one. Yet there are plenty of examples in scripture of how we should NOT respond. Even the great heroes of old didn’t always react as they should: Moses got angry and broke the stone tablets with the ten commandments, Samson ignored his parents’ advice, Jonah ran from God, David committed adultery, Peter denied Jesus. In addition to the many good examples, all of these were included in the Bible for us to learn how NOT to act.

Some of my teachers were beautiful people; though stern about the lessons, they were always encouraging and made the classroom fun and enlightening. Then there were others like my first grade teacher. Outside of the classroom, she may have been a perfectly sweet grandmother; but in the classroom, she was not a kind person. She was cruel to her students and brought many to tears. I don’t know what sad or stressful events led to her being so sour, but the negative effects were obvious, even to a six-year-old boy.

In retrospect, I think God put her in my life for a purpose, to teach me something important. Everything you do matters – and people will remember. When things don’t go your way, you can either respond positively or negatively. It is what you learn through adversity that makes you great or small.

Job’s suffering was devastating. Yet he never wavered in his faith and he gave praise to God even though he had lost everything.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – goodreads.com

Here’s to being a beautiful person even in times of adversity! My mug is full of rich dark liquid; it makes me happy. Have a great day!!

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com