This Is What Anointing Looks Like
Scriptures, Reflections, & Prayers for Faith UMC’s Mission & Vision
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. – Psalm 23:5
Raymond Cropper. We were only in 4th grade, but as far as I could tell Raymond was a Philistine named Goliath! He had to be at least 6 feet tall. His tattered jeans, t-shirt and beat up jacket could just as well had been blood stained armor broadcasting to the world undefeated victories from countless battles. Everybody knew Raymond loved to fight. And, everyday on the playground at recess, some innocent classmate became the object of Raymond’s harassment. One fall day, Raymond focused his wrath on me.
I was average height in the 4th grade which meant that Raymond towered over me. I saw him coming toward me in a straight line from across the playground. I was so scared that I found myself praying involuntarily. “Help me Lord! Please Lord, help me! O Lord, what am I going to do?” Raymond kept coming. Closer now, I could see a look on his face that assured me I was a goner. I looked around for someone to help but the teachers were all occupied a good distance away and all the other kids had strangely disappeared. I was paralyzed. I prayed again, harder this time. I even shut my eyes! When I opened them, Raymond stood in front of me like a wall less than an inch away.
What happened next, I can’t explain. I was given some words. I knew they had come from Sunday school but from whom and when? It was something about loving your enemies, something like every person is a child of God, some strange idea like turning the other cheek to get hit again. Maybe it was an image of Raymond and me sitting at a table together eating and sharing our desserts. Whatever it was, I was surprised to hear what came from my voice.
“Raymond,” I said, feeling calmer than I had moments before, “I’m not going to fight you. If you want, go ahead and beat me up. But, I’m not going to fight you back.” Poor Raymond was dumbfounded! He stepped back frustrated and angry with me like I had refused to go to his party or something. After a few more stunned moments in silence, Raymond turned and walked away. He never bothered me again. In fact, later in middle school, we became friends.
I’m convinced that God had indeed prepared a table for me in the presence of my enemy. I was no longer weak and afraid and Raymond no longer felt the need to bully. Thanks be to God!
How is God preparing a table for you?
Sincerely, Pastor Steve
November’s Prayer Focus: O God our redeemer, help us to love even our enemies.