Two Men Against One God
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, September 18.
en-year-old Niang got up to go to school while it was still dark outside.
She was worried. School worried her every day. Her family had moved as refugees to the United States from Myanmar only a year earlier, and school was hard in the state of Georgia.
She didn’t speak English very well. She didn’t have many friends. And she had to walk to school in the dark. Father could not go with her because he worked at night. Mother had to stay at home with Baby Sister.
Niang prayed before leaving the house.
“Dear God, please help me survive another day of school,” she said. “Help me not to get in trouble with the teacher. Keep me safe as I walk to school. Amen.”
Niang swung her heavy black backpack over her shoulders and stepped out into the dark street. If she took the shortcut, she could reach school in only 10 minutes. She had to walk past a few apartment buildings and through the woods to get to the school. Maybe she would meet some children along the way to keep her company.
No other children were in sight as Niang walked through the woods. The air was quiet. The trees looked like dark shadows.
Suddenly two big men loomed in front of her. One of them was holding what appeared to be a white cloth bag. It was limp and empty. He held it out.
“Hey, could you hold this for us?”
Niang thought it was a strange question. She stopped and took a few steps back. The men took a few steps forward.
Niang anxiously looked around, hoping that other children might be taking the shortcut to school. She didn’t see anyone. She looked back at the men. There were two of them and only one of her. They were tall and big, and she was short and small. Would she hold the white bag?
“No!” Niang exclaimed, shaking her head.
Turning around, she ran as fast as she could.
The men were surprised.
“Oh no!” one man said. “Don’t run!”
But Niang wasn’t going to stop. She was scared. She had heard stories about children being kidnapped. She knew that the men could easily catch her.
“Lord, please help me,” she prayed. “Please protect me.”
She wondered whether they might grab her at any moment. She wanted everything to be right with God.
“If I did anything wrong, please forgive me,” she prayed.
She listened for sounds that the men were pursuing her. Not hearing anything, she stopped for a moment. Her heart was pounding. Then she heard the welcome chatter of children taking the shortcut to school. Relief washed over Niang. She could walk with the other children and be safe.
She followed the three younger children toward school. When they reached the spot where the two men had stood, the men were nowhere to be seen. They were gone.
Niang heaved a sigh of relief.
“Dear God, thank you for protecting me,” she prayed.
Two big men had been overcome by an even bigger God.
Ten years ago, a Thirteenth Sabbath Offering helped refugee children like Niang to transfer from public schools to Seventh-day Adventist church schools. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will again help refugee children obtain an Adventist education. Thank you for planning a generous offering.