Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
Imagine that I phone you and ask you how it feels to be back at school among your friends. I suppose IÕd hear different responses, such as ÒGreat!Ó ÒFun!Ó ÒO.K.Ó ÒSometimes I like it.Ó ÒBoring!Ó ÒAwful!Ó As a teacher I sense those different feelings. I believe that often school, for you, is a safe place to be and a time to play with your friends. However, I also know that for some of you most of the time or most of you some of the time, being with other children and teachers can be hurtful. You can feel like a bleeding turkey chick among twenty-five turkey chicks.

My wife and I once went to an animal fair. We were looking in a cage with turkey chicks and saw a smaller turkey chick with a bleeding sore on its neck. Aghast, my wife watched other turkey chicks pecking ferociously at the neck of that wounded chick. Feeling sympathy, my wife summoned a young man in charge of the animals. She pleaded, ÒCanÕt you do something about this? DonÕt you see this chick is being pecked to death!Ó The man shrugged his shoulders, told her it was part of nature, but to please my wife, took the wounded chick out of the cage.

ItÕs sad to admit, but school can be a place where certain children are teased and even bullied. Why? Could it be that a child lacks a certain gift, good looks, an average or attractive body, an attractive personality or is not athletic or smart? Could it be that someone is jealous and has influenced others to tease her? Or could it be that the teachers and principals do not watch carefully or do not discipline those who love bullying and teasing others?

LetÕs never think or act as if teasing and bullying happens in public schools only. Alas, IÕve experienced and observed such behaviour in Christian schools too!

Now, what should you do when such things happen to you? I suppose there are different answers. The Bible gives you a firm answer that we must always remember and do. The answer is found in the story of Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2).

Hannah was married to Elkanah, a man who loved her, but she had no children. Wanting children, Elkanah decided to marry another woman, Peninnah, who bore him many children. Knowing that Elkanah did not love her, Peninnah became jealous of Hannah and teased her mercilessly. She knew how to hurt her. She reminded her that she had no children.

When the women and children walked with Elkanah to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord, Peninnah ridiculed Hannah so much that Hannah became very unhappy and wept. She could not eat the large plate of meat that Elkanah offered her. When he saw this, he asked her, ÒHannah, why do you weep? Why arenÕt you eating? Why are you so sad! Am I not better to you than ten sons?Ó

No one could comfort her, except the Lord. So Hanna went to the tabernacle to pray. The Bible says: ÒAnd Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. And she [Hannah] was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept soreÓ (1 Samuel 1:9,10).

Prayer is the first answer for a hurting child. Hannah opened her hurting soul before the Lord. She asked for a son and promised that her son would be dedicated to the Lord as a Nazarite, one who would devote himself totally to the Lord and showed his commitment by never cutting his hair.

Amazingly, God not only comforted Hannah; He also answered her request by giving her a son, Samuel, who became a faithful, God-fearing prophet. God used him to lead Israel to faith and repentance and to judge Israel wisely for many years. He also became the prophet who anointed David, who was the ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, Hannah was given three more sons and two daughters. HannahÕs prayer became part of GodÕs plan to judge the world and to save sinners from their sins.

If you are hurting, take time to pray. Being hurt can be a time of strong temptation. You are tempted to become weaker, more fearful, distrusting, and even bitter and angry. You need the mercy and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to help you think clearly and forgive those who hurt you. You can tell God what youÕd be too ashamed to say to others. Be open before Him. He knows what you are thinking anyway. You know that you pray to a God who is full of compassion for hurting people and who hates teasing and bullying. The Father in heaven knows what His Son endured in His life on earth, especially when He was arrested, judged and crucified. The Lord Jesus knows what you are going through. He also promised that the Holy Spirit would teach and comfort His people during difficult times. ÒHumble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for youÓ (1 Peter 5:5,6).

Hannah experienced GodÕs care for her. After receiving a son, she prayed again to God and rejoiced: ÒAnd Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our GodÓ (1 Samuel 2:1,2).

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