“You will be protected from the tongue that strikes like a whip, and you will not be afraid when destruction comes.” – Job 5:21

In my childhood is a stepdad who consistently struck me with a bullwhip. He was the one who said if I told anyone what he did to us, he would kill my mom, brother, and sister.

“God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. And you will joyfully give thanks to the Father who has made you able to have a share in all that he has prepared for his people in the kingdom of light. God has freed us from the power of darkness, and he brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” – Colossians 1:11-13

My mom said he had diplomatic immunity and could not be prosecuted even if we did say something.

He was darkly and creatively malicious in his punishments of my brother, sister, and me, except when he was drunk. Then, he traded creativity for a raw violence against which he made it very clear we were powerless…

When I was in Africa, I was reminded of that sense of powerlessness.

It was in the smile of a little girl sitting on a rusty barrel playing with a doll someone had made for her from reeds.

She was surrounded by lawless destruction, the remains of a war ravaged village in a third world country.
Far to her right and behind her, in a field of matted grass, more children played soccer with a lopsided rubber sphere that may have once been a ball.

When I read that verse this morning, and the next one, I was reminded of my childhood and of that little girl.

“You will laugh at destruction and hunger, and you will not fear the wild animals” – Job 5:21

We laugh, not because we’ve somehow ‘lost it’, but rather, because we have found or better, have been found by, the All Powerful One, our Peace, Jesus.

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