TEXT: Genesis 37:3-36; Psalm 105:16-22; 1 Peter 4:12-19
Olive had almost given up on finding an answer to her problem.
Olive stared out the window of the school library, unaware of the students settling into chairs around her and opening their books. The few hurried words Jordyn had just shared with her out in the hall rang again through her mind. “Did you hear about Isaiah?” Jordyn had asked. “They found his cap down in the Science lab where somebody broke in and messed things up over the weekend. He got called to the principal’s office during last period. I bet he did it. And I hope he really gets in trouble. He sure has it coming!”
This news, along with what she had heard from several other students, troubled her. Isaiah was the tough kid who’d made life so miserable for her ever since the beginning of the school year. Olive thought back to the quiz Mr. Larsen had given just a week or so after school began. Isaiah had scribbled down a couple of answers for one of his buddies across the aisle and tried to get Olive to pass it to him. Olive had just shaken her head and looked back down at her own work, but Isaiah had persisted. Then Mr. Larsen looked up, and Isaiah was in trouble. Ever since then, he’d had it in for Olive.
He made fun of her answers in class. He lunged against her in the hall, making her lose her balance. He poked her books out from under her arm. He whispered behind his hand to his friends whenever she walked past, causing them to laugh.
Olive had tried being friendly but that had just brought a lot of sneering remarks. She’d tried ignoring him. She talked to her Mom about what to do. She’d even discussed the problem with her counselor. But nothing seemed to work.
Just last week, Olive had almost given up in despair. Isaiah and a group of his buddies had been lounging by the school fence when she headed for home after school. He’d stuck his foot out when she walked by, and laughed uproariously when she stumbled, trying to avoid falling. She remembered how the tears had stung behind her eyelids, but she had blinked them back, determined not to give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry.
That night she’d prayed about the problem. “God, I’ve always been taught that You have the grace and answer for every situation. Please help me with this problem I have with Isaiah.”
Somehow, after she had prayed about it, the problem didn’t seem so huge anymore. God had really given her peace of mind about the whole situation. She was just sure He was going to take care of it.
Could it be that this was God’s solution? Isaiah had been accused of breaking into the school and wrecking the Science room. Maybe he would be expelled. If he weren’t around he couldn’t bother her anymore.
For some reason, though, Olive didn’t think that was God’s way. Somehow she knew! She knew that Isaiah wasn’t the one who had broken into the Science room.
The whole school had been buzzing with the details all morning. And one of the details Olive had picked up was that it had all happened about 5:30 on Saturday evening. Someone had noticed a kid climbing out a window and had called the police.
Isaiah had been over at South Sound Shopping Mall at 5:30. Olive had seen him there.
Suddenly Olive gathered her books together and stood up. Moving over to the desk, she quietly asked the library attendant for permission to go down to the office. She knew what she had to do.
That was God’s solution. Olive spoke to the principal, and Isaiah was dismissed to go back to his classroom.
After school, Isaiah was lounging by the fence again. As Olive approached, she had a feeling he’d been watching for her, and she was right. But this time he didn’t stop her by putting a foot out. He put a hand out instead.
“Stop, Olive.” He hesitated a moment, and then went on. “I just want to say thanks.”
“That’s okay, Isaiah. I didn’t want you to get blamed when I knew you didn’t do it.”
As she headed on down the sidewalk, she knew that she’d never have a problem with Isaiah again.