I have this suspicion that something bigger than me is going on right now. A battle of some kind. An all-out slugfest. And I am in the thick of it along with a multitude of people in my workplace. I know that Satan is involved, and yet I feel angels carrying me as well. Have you ever read any Frank Peretti? The fictionalized spiritual warfare he writes about seems all too real to me. I suppose I should start from the beginning.
It started with an innocent meeting last spring when the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) rep visited me during my plan hour. I had been told that FCA had not been in our district for a long time and that they didn’t even work with the high school level anymore, but I wanted to investigate. After speaking with this young man in his mid-20’s, his eyes sparkling with Christ’s delight, he graciously informed me that I was dead wrong. FCA was in fact alive and well in our district. Near half the middle schools and all the high schools were involved. All my school needed was a faculty sponsor to get the ball rolling and a student leadership team.
I went right to work recruiting my number one draft pick for a leader. To keep him anonymous, we’ll call him David. After all, this kid very much reminds me of David in the Bible. His slight figure was anything but athletic, and he stood at 5’5” on his tip toes, but a passion for Christ flowed through his every action. To flash back even further, he was on my heart one Monday morning in February, and I prayed for him. The next morning, as if led by a supreme force beyond my understanding, David appeared in my room a little past 7:20 am. He wanted to start a Bible study in my room.
Before I knew it, a group of seven to ten boys started meeting in my room Monday mornings to dive into the Word through David’s devotionals. They challenged one another. They laughed together. They enjoyed fellowship and bonded. I saw something in them that lit a fire under my rear end. What if David were to reach more than just this group? What if he had the platform to reach the entire school? My brain whirled. All too many times I had heard of how God had chosen the weak to lead the strong. Gideon was the weakest man in his tribe, yet he was chosen to glorify God. I saw David as my Gideon.
So I talked to him. I pulled him aside after school one day on hallway duty and asked him about leading an FCA group. I could see his hesitation immediately. After all, this kid had probably never even played a sport in his life. He was a Bible quizzer from his church. He probably didn’t know the difference between a first down and a homerun. But I whispered encouragement to him. I laid out the possibility of him influencing not just a group of boys but and entire school. I told him I wouldn’t have asked anyone else but him. And I wouldn’t have! This kid was just too bold, too relentless in his witness. He said yes.
Fast forward to the end of the school year with a few weeks left to go, and I was told I couldn’t get the ball rolling until the fall. No more recruiting a student leadership team. No more phone calls to parents asking their permission for their child’s participation. So I took the summer off, and I waited. Sure enough, before school even started, David was e-mailing me asking questions about when he could get started. Didn’t I tell you … this kid had heart! He was the one! And he got right to work making the flyers, calling up his buddies, and getting everyone on board. I truly felt God’s spirit guiding every step he took. But that was when stuff started happening. Satan had taken notice.
Word had to spread to let our group be known to the student body, but we were limited in how we could promote it. David was allowed to create a hallway poster, so he did. Upon completion of his poster, our administration vetoed him putting it up in the hallway. Let’s just say that although David is blessed with witnessing, the spiritual gift of spelling is … um … a bit of a struggle for the young lad. Once he got it fixed, the location of the meeting place was incorrect. The poor kid redid the poster a THIRD time, finally getting permission to get it up one week before our first meeting. All the while, I felt Satan’s laughter burning in my eardrums.
But Satan wasn’t through yet. David got on the intercom to announce the first meeting to the entire school a week and a half before the kickoff. Two lines into his little skit that he wrote, the lines were cut off. I waited for our librarian to get him back on. A minute passed. My students started giggling with nervous laughter. Seconds passed like molasses, until the all too familiar beep signaled that the announcements were resuming. Problem: our librarian had no clue when they were cut off, so he finished his announcements assuming David’s had been heard. The following Tuesday? Same deal. Cut off dead again! Once may have been a coincidence, but twice??? Seriously???
We all know the old cliché that the third time is the charm. Our librarian caught the foul-up immediately and got David right back on the mic. Which when you think of it may have actually been a blessing! After all, the announcements sometimes can get stale for the kids to listen to, and the little Fu paw probably made dozens more tune in since it was being repeated. David rocked it! The word was officially out, and seeds were planted in the few that needed it. One young lady in my class approached me right after the bell rang to signal the end of the school day.
“So what exactly is this FCA thing all about?” she asked inquisitively.
I was in the clear to discuss it with her after school hours, so I did. A slight smile crept up on the corners of her mouth as she left my room. “I think I’ll try to make it!” she declared. It was kids like her that we NEEDED there. The ones that were all in already. The ones that could round up the other students that were on the fence. All it took was that one gal for me to know that the third try was indeed a success!
Satan countered with his last ditch effort to thwart our efforts to promote FCA when David was told he could not pass out a small flyer we created. I questioned the legality of the whole thing with the FCA authorities and found out that I was right. David had all the right in the world to pass out his flyers! I lovingly approached our administration, asking permission for David and his leadership team to spread the word, and they said yes. David went right to work. He was knocking on my door the following morning asking for more. I had already created around 40 flyers and cranked out another 40 for him. God’s angels went right to work, guiding David and his leadership team in promoting the first meeting.
Then, out of the blue, I get an e-mail from our FCA rep that says a local youth pastor from a church down the street wanted to help out in any way possible. This man stopped by my classroom last Friday with purpose in his step, declaring he wanted to be at that initial FCA kickoff. I smiled knowing how God had led him our way. How he is going to help us, I don’t have the slightest notion, but what I do know is this: he wants to reach out to the youth surrounding his church, and from the two minutes we talked, I could feel Christ’s passion beating inside him with every heartbeat.
And so here we are. A mere 24 hours away from our first ever meeting. If you are reading this, do me a favor. Pray for David and his leadership team. Pray for that first meeting to entice kiddoes to come back a second time and even bring a friend. Pray for the word to spread that this organization does exist and that it will begin to mold lives toward the One who died for us. Pray for God’s angels to guard these young kids, defending them with tenacity and fervor. I have a sneaking suspicion that Satan is not through with us yet, and his futile attempts to thwart the first meeting will make him that much more determined to strike again down the road.
Although that thought looms, I marvel at how big our God is. If I will boast at all, I will boast about His absolute power. He is the One who shut the mouths of the lions who eyed Daniel with hungry eyes. He is the One who kept Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego safe amongst the fiery furnace dungeon that scorched others above. He is the One who rescued Jonah from the belly of a whale, sending him off to preach the Word to Nineveh. He is the One who parted the Red Sea, the One who led Gideon’s army of 300 slaughter their adversaries, the One who continues performing miracles to this very day. Our God is omnipotent and everywhere, and He will have the last word over Satan.