I remember a time when my life was saved back in eighth grade. In those days, long walks home from school were common. It was good to let the kids exercise, but it left a lot of unsupervised time to get in trouble. Every middle schooler had one common desire. We all wanted to see a fight. When one broke out, the chant began, “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
In that crazy season of life, a “friend” told me that someone I didn’t know called me a sissy. That didn’t bother me until he followed up with, “What are you going to do about that?” I thought for a moment. I asked, “I don’t know. What do you think I should do?” He told me how the word had spread and that I’d better do something. So, I said, “Tell him I said take it back.” My nemesis refused. So, I told my bud to try again but added, “Tell him I’m really serious.”
A silly game of back and force escalated throughout the day. I don’t know what I was thinking. I was a skinny preachers kid who played the trumpet beside grandma’s organ on Sundays. My opponent was stocky, with linebacker shoulders, and thick biceps. Caught up in the hype and attention I walked out of school ready to defend my honor.
A crowd of students gathered around us as we walked toward an open playground. People I had never met patted me on the back, wishing me luck. Then everyone stopped and created a large circle. I stood in the middle facing my adversary. I pumped my fists and pranced around like I knew what I was doing. But in just a few seconds, he had me pinned to the dirt. His heavy knees were on my shoulders. It felt like a grown man was sitting on my stomach. The only thing I knew to do was cover my face with my hands to shield it some from the pounding that was sure to come.
Right when I thought I was dead, his heavy weight was lifted off me. I uncovered my face and saw the bottoms of his soles being drug away. To this day, I don’t know how or why. But some loving, influential soul in that depraved group of humanity had mercy on me.
As you look back on your life, are you thankful for the mercy of God? God said to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” I don’t know why God wanted Israel to be his people. They didn’t have much to offer. The only explanation is love. When they had no way of escape God stepped in and fought for them. The Apostle Paul put it this way in Ephesians 2:4-5, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”