I stared at him. "You're scared of bunnies?"
"... They're big bullies. Always stealing celery ..." – Rick Riordan, The Last Olympian
I switched schools in the fifth grade. Back then, I wasn’t 6' 5"; I was small and gangly and new. One day at recess I headed outside, but no one wanted to play. So I took a walk, looked at some grass, kicked a few pebbles, and turned the corner of the building … to find the school bully waiting for me.
Tom was huge and his minions were many. As they circled me, I knew this wasn’t going to end well.
“What’s your name?” Tom asked.
“Pete,” I answered.
“Well, Pete, we’re the welcoming committee.”
As the circle tightened, my terror increased. I didn’t stand a chance.
And then Nate showed up. Nate had his T-shirt rolled at the sleeves. I could tell he’d hit his growth spurt early.
Nate walked right into the center of the circle, “You’ll have to go through me first.”
I was like, “Yeah. That’s right! What he said.”
Tom and his minions dispersed.
This experience taught me a fantastic truth. In the presence of a greater strength, bullies become wimps. We can watch this truth play out in Scripture as Jesus’ teaching was interrupted:
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”
“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. (Luke 4:33-35)
That’s what you call a demonic tantrum. Jesus commanded the demon to exit the man and, like a toddler told to take his hand out of the cookie jar, the demon threw a fit. Why is that?
Demons know obedience isn’t a choice in the presence of Jesus.
In the presence of a greater strength, bullies become wimps. This was true for Tom, and it’s true for demons.
My Protector, when I feel surrounded by evil on all sides with no visible rescue plan, remind me to relax in the presence of Your greater strength. As I rest in You, I want to imagine Your Spirit with His sleeves rolled up, standing up for me. Amen.
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