“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” (2 Peter 3:14 NIV) 

My little brother and I were very close growing up. We both had vivid imaginations so we played together well – for the most part. There were times in which the bonds of brotherly love were severely tested. One of those times was when I was eight years old and Eric was six.

It was toward the end of the summer and we were starting to wear on each other a bit. Evidently, I was getting on Eric’s nerves a little more than he was on mine. I’m not sure I understand why. After all, I always let him pet the waggley end of the dog, have first attempt at flying off the roof, and play the sidekick in all our superhero games. What more could a younger brother ask for?

Anyway, for about three weeks running, it seemed like Eric took issue with everything I said and it would almost always turn into a tussle. Flabbergasted, I finally went to the fountain of family wisdom for counsel. “Mom, Eric wants to argue about everything. He turns everything into a fight. I just don’t know what to do.”

Mom listened attentively, then, sagely advised, “You know, Paul, it takes two to argue. If you don’t argue back, then there won’t be any fight. Don’t let anything he says bother you. Just hum a happy tune and the argument will end before it even begins.” Moms are brilliant! Very sound psychology, indeed. If only my little brother had studied psychology in kindergarten.

The next day, Eric and I were sitting on a tree limb a bazillion feet above the ground. I can’t remember the exact intellectual exchange in which we were engaged when our opinions diverged. I do, however, remember my brother’s adroit rejoinder. “Nuh uh!” To which, of course, I replied with the classic logical retort of, “Huh uh!”

The pupils of Eric’s eyes widened and his nostrils flared, “Nuh uh!” he exclaimed emphatically. As I was preparing my second rebuttal of his postulation, I suddenly remembered Mom’s counsel from the previous day. So, instead of saying, “Huh uh!” I sang, “Hum, a hum, hum, hummy, hum, hum.”

Eric was momentarily stunned. There was a slight pause. “Moms are geniuses,” I thought. Then, Eric yelled, “NUH UH!”

I wasn’t going to let him suck me into the vortex of another argument. I was going to end this one before it began just like Mom had so brilliantly instructed me. So, I diverted my eyes upward and continued humming my happy little tune. “Hum, a hum, hum, hummy, hum, hum.”   



Suddenly, I felt a vice like clamp upon my nose. “Stop ignoring me!” Eric shouted as he jerked my nose so hard it pulled me off of the tree limb. “Moms aren’t brilliant at all,” I deduced during the bazillion-foot fall to the ground.

But, they are fast. In a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, Mom had flown out the door and scooped me off the ground and Eric out of the tree. Then, in a single bound, she transported us back into the house. She quickly attended to my wounds. After which, she soundly applied psychology to Eric’s rear.

Here’s the point of my story. Obeying Jesus doesn’t mean we won’t suffer. Sometimes, the hands that afflict us the most belong to those we’re most trying to love and help. God’s promise isn’t that we won’t suffer for doing right. It’s that He’ll make sure we’re rewarded for any suffering we have to endure in the process of doing right.

So, we needn’t worry nor be frightened. God is watching over us. He will tend our wounds and richly reward us should we suffer for serving Him. Besides, our God is even wiser and faster than moms.

© Paul R Downing

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