I heard those words repeatedly over the course of a few weeks.
“… your God, who defends his people.” Is 51:22
“This is what the LORD says, “See, I will defend your cause…” Jer 51:36
“We do not need to defend ourselves…” Dan 3: 16
“Do not worry about how you will defend yourselves…” Luke 12:11
OK, I thought. Must be a new lesson. Sounded good to me. I knew no one could be a better defender than the Almighty God who loved me. And it was always good when He wanted to do something for me.
So I watched for opportunities in which I would normally try to defend myself to practice this new lesson. They came more often than I would have guessed. Little things, but frequent enough to give me the time to get good at keeping my mouth shut.
“I’ve got this!” I finally felt one day.
“Really? Then it’s time.”
Time for what, I wondered.
“Would you come to my office please?” The principal didn’t sound too happy. Oh, no, I thought. What did I do now? Turns out a parent had made some complaints and wanted a meeting to discuss them, with the principal in attendance. The meeting was set for the following day.
All night I wondered what the complaints were. I searched my memory for any indication that any parent had been upset with me. Nothing. I had no clue which parent it was or what this parent was going to say.
“Remember, I am your defender. Do not say anything. Let Me defend you.”
“Aallll riiiight,” I said slowly, stretching out the sounds as I considered the cost. If I didn’t say anything, if I didn’t give my side, how would the principal know what the truth was? I would look bad, and may even be disciplined for something I didn’t do. At the very least, I would probably look like a fool for not responding. But I knew I had heard from God. And if He said don’t talk, I wouldn’t talk.
“God is my defender. God is my defender. God is my defender,” I chanted quietly the next afternoon as I made my way down two hallways to the principal’s office.
As I entered the principal’s office, I was shocked at who I saw in the other chair. My parent volunteer! The one who had been helping out in my classroom for a couple of weeks! I could feel the knife beginning to prick my back.
“Have a seat,” the principal said. Then he turned to the lady. “OK. You go first. What are your concerns?”
As she rattled off everything under the sun from rudeness to teaching sex education to the boys in her bathroom, I sat there stunned, probably with my mouth hanging open. What? Where was she getting this? Why was she doing this? Nothing, absolutely nothing she said had any truth in it!
I wanted so badly to tell the principal that it wasn’t true! But I just kept hearing, “God is my defender.” So I remained quiet.
When she finally stopped, the principal asked her, “Are you finished?”
She nodded, then glared at me. The principal turned to look at me. I thought he was going to ask me something, but then he seemed to change his mind. He turned back to the lady.
“Let me tell you about this teacher,” he began. “She is one of the best teachers here at this school. She is honest, and has the highest integrity. She is…” and he continued singing my praises for several minutes! When he got done, all I could do was marvel at God’s faithfulness. I didn’t have to defend myself, God had the principal do it!
After the principal dismissed the parent, he told me not to worry about anything. As I left his office, I may have looked like any other teacher walking from one place to another. But inside, I was shouting and praising and dancing down that hallway – to the amazing God who prepares us beforehand and who keeps His word!