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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Elementary School (07/19/04)

TITLE: Not Ashamed
By J. C. Lamont


Michael Williams paused, his hand lingering on the doorknob of the classroom door. He could hear the animated chatter of children on the other side. Michael hated elementary school ever since the 3rd grade, when he gave his life to Christ at a local church’s vacation bible school.

Michael felt so on fire for God and took the verse “do not be ashamed of the gospel of truth” to heart, openly expressing his faith no matter what the cost. Classmates labeled him a Jesus freak or simply ignored him, the school suspended him for repeatedly praying in the cafeteria before meals, and a teacher had confiscated his Bible when he discovered it in his locker. He failed a science exam because he had written the truth according to the Bible, instead of the required answers based on evolution, and ended up spending hours in detention for talking about “religion.”

As Michael stood at the door, his mind replayed the hours passed in detention in vivid detail. Stuck in a vacant classroom or besides bullies and troublemakers, he tried to keep his thoughts on God and on the Bible, but at times he would despair. It was so hard being alone at school, being the only Christian. Perhaps he should stop being so vocal about his beliefs.

He wondered if being a Christian was worth it. Where was God when he was in detention? Where was God when he walked home alone, watching all the other kids laughing together?

He would glance up at the clock to see how many hours of detention remained, stretching his still legs underneath the desk. He doodled on the desk, drummed his fingers, gnawed on the end of his pencil; wishing he were anywhere but there. The sun shone so brightly through the open window, it seemed to mock him for being stuck inside.

His thoughts turned to Paul and Silas, beaten and bloodied from being whipped and chained in a prison cell for being vocal about their faith.

“Bet they wondered where God was too,” he thought bitterly.

As Michael recalled the story more clearly, he remembered they didn’t question God; in fact they praised God. They were brutally tortured and imprisoned for speaking out about Christ, yet they sang hymns. Michael squirmed in his seat, feeling guilty for complaining about a mere two hours of mindless sitting.

“What gave Paul and Silas such strong perseverance?” he wondered. “Why didn’t they question where God was through of that?”

The answer seemed to come almost immediately, like a gentle breeze flowing from the open window, a whisper from the Spirit of God, always with him as promised: they had been glad to suffer for Jesus, because he had suffered so much for them.

Michael stared at the floor in shame. How could he have questioned the point of being a Christian? How could he have so quickly forgotten all that Christ had gone through?

“I won’t give up,” he vowed to himself. “This is nothing compared to all that. I won’t let them break me.”

The persecution for being a Christian wouldn’t stop, he knew. But he had come to accept it. Elementary school would have been so much easier though, if he had someone, anyone, a teacher even, who was a fellow believer. Someone he could talk to, someone who could encourage him and support him.

Michael took a deep breath, turned the handle of the door, and walked into the classroom. “Hello,” he smiled, setting his briefcase down on the teacher’s desk. “My name is Mr. Michael Williams.”

Member Comments
Member Date
Angela Moore07/26/04
A wonderful story. It touched my situation currently and gave me an added dose of strength. Thank you for your words.
darlene hight07/26/04
Thank you for the great story and reminder that we need Christians in the trenches!
Deborah Anderson07/26/04
A very nice story. Thank you and God bless you.
L.M. Lee07/26/04
I failed my 8th grade science test for doing this... but on appeal I won, because the teacher asked "which theory of creation to you believe...NOT "which theory of the ones we studied did we believe."

Sometimes it is lonely walking with the Lord.
Jean Boulmay07/27/04
Your story made me realize just how thankful I am to have Christian fellowship.
Melanie Kerr 07/28/04
Your story made me realise just how much freedom the children have in our school. No one would think of confiscating a Bible.
Marina Rojas07/28/04
We can never really separate our jobs from ourselves, can we? Your article is a good reminder to me, to always hold up what I do to the ruler of God's Word for measurement. Good work.
Deborah Porter 10/12/04
Hi JC! Not sure if you got my e-mail, but I really need to contact you urgently about this story. Please e-mail me as soon as possible at debporter@breathfreshair.org It's to do with its inclusion as an Editors' Choice winning story in the next FaithWriters' Anthology. Love, Deb