There she was, minding her own business, when it happened for about the millionth time since Terri started high school.
First it was the, “Sister THERESA – you’re so HOLY!” Then it was the snickering. Would she get away with the last act of this quick, yet tiresome play? WHAM! Apparently not, as Terri’s books went flying – again, as Emma and her crew reveled in their daily torture routine.
“School is the worst place to be when you’re a Christian,” Terri’s lunch buddy, Kristi said in her typical squeaky voice while chowing down on her “jumbo soft taco with rice” in the lunch room. “I don’t know why you even admitted it in the first place.”
Terri leaned her face against her hand and sighed, “I didn’t shout it to the world, Kristi – someone broke into my writing file in Mrs. Severo’s room. They found a paper I wrote which explained why I won’t do – you know – ‘that,’ just because everyone else does.” Terri flopped her head on the lunch table, hoping she wouldn’t get her head in any tacos left behind. “I REALLY do love God, but why does it have to be so difficult? I’m the butt of everyone’s jokes.”
Just then, someone slapped the back of her head, “Hey, Christian girl, doncha know you’re breaking the rules, sleeping at school?” guffawed her worst rival, Emma.
“Go ahead – stand up and hit her,” hissed Kristi. “I hate her guts!”
Terri would have been a liar if she’d have said that she never wanted to take a pop at Emma; she even clenched her fists, itching to take the law into her own hands. Then, slowly, she tried to remember some verse or another about how to handle her anger, then slowly unclenched her fists.
That night in her bedroom, she paced the floor, angry at Emma, angry at herself, and angry at God. “Why does Emma have to be so popular, and SHE doesn’t even believe that you exist!” yelled Terri. “I want to punch her out, God – just let me do it, please!” As she tossed her Bible from the bed to her dresser, it opened up at Psalms 37. She read about how those who were rotten seemed at first to succeed, but that God had something not so wonderful in store for them. “Wow! I didn’t know that God, Himself actually laughs -- cool,” marveled Terri. She read where she should trust in the Lord, and He would give her what she needed. After she read the psalm, she asked God to forgive her for her hatred of those who hated the Jesus that she served, and asked for a softer heart to be able to pray for Jesus to enter their hearts.
A few days later, Terri was hurrying to art class when she saw a figure hunched down, crying. She recognized it as Emma. At first, she thought, “Good, I hope God is laughing at her now,” then felt instantly guilty. She knew what she had to do.
“Uh, hi, Emma,” she stammered. “Are you okay?’
“No, but why should YOU care,” snapped Emma. Then she paused, and Terri’s mouth popped open in surprise when Emma said, “Look, I’m sorry – I shouldn’t have talked to you like that. Hey, you’ve got a connection to God – could you just pray that my Grandma doesn’t have cancer? They found a tumor in her head and – “ she trailed off, crying. “If she dies, I have no one.”
Compassion touched Terri’s heart as she bent down to touch Emma’s shoulder. “Hey, you don’t have to rely on me to pray – you can pray just as well as I can.” She added as she noticed the disbelief on Emma’s face. “But, I’ll tell ya what – I’ll pray and you can repeat it after me, okay?”
“Alright,” Emma said softly, and she clung onto Terri’s hand as they prayed. As they prayed, Terri was unsure what the future would hold, but she was thankful to at least share her best friend with her worst enemy – and hopefully, Emma would make Jesus her best friend, too.
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