the lord has eyes for the just

Proof that my mom gave me way too many perms as a child.

Do you have those moments when God places a memory in your head out of completely no where?  For reasons unknown to me, a memory of my pre-teen years popped in my head that relates to all areas of life at all ages.

When I was around 11 or 12 years old my mom transferred me to a different summer swimming club.  The swim teams were a little difficult for me on a social level no matter where I swam because my peers from school didn’t swim.  None of them.  So I had to recreate friendships with people that I would only see for 3 months out of the year.  I would never be close friends with these kids, no matter how hard I tried.  And all of those kids DID go to school with each other.

Anyway, when I transferred to my new team it was rough.  Being at that age is hard for girls anyway, let alone being an outsider.  My love for racing far outweighed the friendships but it was still hard.

There is an unspoken rule about swim practice: NEVER EVER get so close to the person leading that your hands are landing on their feet.  It’s just a no-no.  If you are swimming that tight to the leader then maybe you should lead.  It’s unnerving for the recipient.  The leader just has to keep going faster and faster and faster to get away, and sometimes they’ll just never get away.

In older age groups, lane leaders weren’t picked by the coaches, they were picked among their peers.  The girls I swam with (and some swam year round and were faster than me) always volunteered me to go first.  It was like hazing.  And me being the spineless child I was didn’t speak up and I allowed myself to be railroaded every. single. morning.

Additionally, these girls would rest on the wall (when they were supposed to be doing laps) and gossip.  Partially because I didn’t know who in the world they were talking about and because I was very concerned about making a good showing to my new coaches, I never joined in.

Reflecting back, I have to say it was depressing.  I knew these girls didn’t genuinely like me.  I was an outsider.  I also knew I was not as fast as them…  and this was proven in swim meets.  I was often coming in 2nd or 3rd.  Sometimes in 1st place but not often.

My 2nd year at this new club was no different.  At least I knew these girls and what I was in for but practices were the same, although I did pull in more blue ribbons and placed in the championship meet.

At the end of the swimming seasons there was a picnic and a banquet to hand out awards.  There were some silly awards (at my previous swimming club I was voted “most enthusiastic swimmer.”  This is still a trophy that I smile at…  It’s funny to see how elements of your personality just don’t go away no matter how old you get.) and some serious awards and recognitions.

At this particular swim club, they had one grand award at the end.  It was named after a young swimmer who died there some years ago in a drunk driving accident.  The award was given to the best all-around swimmer, which included improvement, work ethic, positive attitude, etc.  With complete surprise I was given this award.  I didn’t even know all of my teammates names, nor the significance of the award or even the individual it was named after.

My point in bringing all of this up is not to be a braggart but to show how we can apply it to every day life.  There are so many of us who day in and day out are meeting our daily grind with naysayers and people who are making our lives a literal living hell.  They are not thoughtful or nice and could care less about the grief they deliver.

What are we called to do?  We are called to do our business.  We are called to do our job.  We are called to behave the right way, regardless of our peers.  We are called to build each other up, not tear them down.  We are called to be righteous in the face of unrighteousness.

The Lord DOES have Eyes for the Just

the lord has eyes for the justI know, this can be hard.  It can be hard to do the right thing in the face of people continually doing bad things but think about the reward.  Our reward won’t be some 3″ x 5″ plaque shoved away in some box in the basement.  It won’t be some trophy .  It will be a starry crown.  It will be YOUR starry crown.

This morning I found myself reading around in Psalms and there are so many that I want to share with you, primarily in Psalm 33 and 34 but will limit it to this:

The Lord has eyes for the just and ears for their cry.  When the just cry out, the Lord hears and rescues them from all distress.  The Lord is close to the broken-hearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed.  Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers from them all. – Psalm 34:16, 18-20