He and I sat opposite each other…staring one another down. I had faced larger opponents, but perhaps none as mentally strong as this one. I could tell I was wearing him down. Yet, he was resilient, he fought on. He had already had several near breakdowns, but ultimately, my opponent held resolute. His face was red with exertion…and I am certain that the veins in my neck were enlarged and protruding above my crew collared shirt.
I have spent my entire life facing difficult opponents, whether on the wrestling mat from age 5, or a difficult college professor, or the 3 year boy who opposed me that day. It had started simple enough…a question…”Do you want your pizza cut into triangles or squares.”
I realize that some questions can overwhelm indecisive people like myself…but this young boy had already developed strong opinions. For example, he hated potatoes, uncomfortable shirts and loose athletic shoes. He would send his potatoes flying…his uncomfortable shirts would be thrown off…and he would pull the laces of his shoes up to his knees in efforts to keep them snug around his feet.
The eternal struggle of triangles or squares was the most difficult decision that this 3 year old had yet faced. He had said, “Squares.” Thus, I cut the pizza into squares. Once the slicing was finished, the toe jam extracting scream let loose and he cried out, “No! I wanted it cut into triangles!”
“You said squares!”
“Tough! You said squares…you got squares…now eat it!”
Sweat began to collect on my brow as I mentally wrestled with the child. He was a tough one…a formidable foe. We found ourselves now at a standoff, neither of us wanting to give in.
“Are you feeling hungry?”
“Then eat your pizza.”
“You are not getting anything else to eat.”
“I don’t want it!”
“Then you are going to be hungry.”
“I want to eat!”
The battle may have lasted 20 minutes or more…before…as I pretended to be unaware…he snuck a bite…and then another…and another. “There, finally” I sighed silently to myself.
“Now that you have eaten your pizza…would you like a cookie?”
We face opposition all throughout our lives. Some of these opposing moments are mere superficial issues with food or the foolish man driving slowly in the fast lane on the highway. Yet, there are times in our lives when we will face opposition that is powerful…and how we respond to these oppositions are critical. When it comes to spiritual matters and the church…we can be guaranteed that there WILL be opposition. The early New Testament church encountered opposition regularly. We find an event recorded in Acts chapter 4, Peter and John had just healed a crippled beggar at the Temple in the name of Jesus. Though the deed that they had done was very kind and beneficial…they are arrested and told…”You are not allowed to preach the name any more…that name of Jesus…”
When faced with the opposition…Peter and John must make a decision. What do they do? Obey God or obey man? In the face of opposition…they do the only thing that they can do…they obey God…yet, they do it with such grace.
May we come to see that as followers of Christ we WILL face opposition…and may we choose to do that which is difficult and obey God…with grace.