Owen learned that prayer is the key.
(Continued from last week.)
Owen awoke to the muffled sound of his older brother’s talking to someone. Their room was still veiled in the early morning darkness, but he could just make out his brother’s form kneeling beside the bed across the room.
“Cyrus,” Owen interrupted, “What are you doing up so early?”
Without moving from his knees, Cyrus answered slowly, “I was just praying that the Lord would help you face the Southside Crew this morning. I’m really concerned.”
“Well, I’m not worried about that anymore. I know the Lord will take care of it.”
As Owen walked out into the living room and opened the curtains, thoughts began to trouble him in spite of the bold statement to his brother only moments before. I know the Lord can see me through like He did David facing the giant. I’m just wondering how He’s going to do it. I threw away all my weapons after I left the gang when the Lord saved me. Besides, Jesus said to turn the other cheek, not strike back.
Hoping to find the answer he needed, Owen opened the big family Bible which was on the coffee table. An illustration depicting the Children of Israel circling Jericho caught his eye and he stopped to think about their situation at that time. He realized that all the mighty men of Israel could do nothing as long as the walls of the city towered firmly between them and the enemy. Turning to the Scripture reference given, he read the story of how the walls miraculously fell down when Joshua and the people did as God had commanded them.
“Well, Lord, how do You want me to go about this battle?”
Owen got down on his knees beside the couch and began to seek the Lord’s guidance. And he didn’t stop praying until he had an answer. When he looked up, he realized his parents and his brother were praying with him.
“Your mother wants me to go with you to school today, Owen, but I told her that would only put off for a time what we know you must face,” his father said.
Owen sighed deeply. “I know I brought this on myself by ever getting involved with the gang. But I also know that the Lord is walking to school with me today. He even showed me while I was praying, what weapon to take.”
“Owen, no!” gasped his mother.
“Don’t worry, Mom. He told me to take my Bible with me. I’m not sure why, but I’m going to obey just like the Israelites did when they won the victory at Jericho.”
The sun was shining and Owen smiled as he headed down the street to school. He walked one, two, then three blocks without spotting the Southside Crew. His eyes quickly scanned the shadowed alleys as he passed them one after another. Four blocks and still no sign of the gang. Only two blocks left, thought Owen. I wonder if they’ll show?
“Slow down!” growled a voice abruptly.
Owen stopped, recognizing the voice of Maddox, the Southside Crew’s leader. Clutching his Bible and breathing a quick prayer, he looked up to face the gang as they stepped out in front of him and stood with their arms crossed.
“Ya haven’t got your Southside Crew jacket on . . . did ya forget?” Maddox was a big guy and no one messed with him or the two knives he always carried, one of which he was fingering as he spoke.
Owen’s throat was dry, but his heart was still full of the confidence God had given him as he spoke.
“No, Maddox, I didn’t forget—I’m not a member of Southside Crew anymore. The Lord saved me and, like I told you guys when I left, He delivered me from the life you are still living.”
“Well, how would you like to be delivered from the life you’re livin’ right now?” snarled Maddox as he pulled his other knife from its sheath.
Owen opened his Bible to a Scripture his brother had found in Hebrews that morning. “‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’ Maddox, the worst you can do is kill me, but that would just put me into the presence of Jesus. And don’t think that worries me, my soul is safe and you can’t touch it. Do what you want to my body. But remember, this Word of God I have in my hand is the best weapon man has, and as I just read, the Lord himself is my helper.”
Several tense moments passed as Owen faced the gang, still holding the open Bible only inches from Maddox’s outstretched knives. Maddox loomed over Owen who still stood firm.
“The Lord loves you, Maddox.”
There was a long silence. Then, with a slight change of expression, Maddox abruptly turned and headed the other direction, sliding the knives into their sheaths. Within seconds, the rest of the gang wheeled and followed him. As Owen watched them disappear, a feeling of relief swept over him. He knew the battle was over and the victory was won!