Infusion of inspiration from an exemplar of empowerment
Expand search form
A Pastor In Peril

Divine Protection: It’s No Joke!

Under Gods ProtectionDecades ago, I was a teacher in a boarding school in Durham. On one particular day, I’d had an unusually stressful session with the boisterous boys in the classroom. (The weather was turning from cool to warm, and I think they were all getting a bad case of “spring fever”!)

Muzzy-headed and drained of energy, I shuffled back to my flat, locked and chained the door, and brewed myself a cup of tea strong enough to revive a felled ox. No sooner had I raised the cup to my lips than I was startled by a resounding RAT-A-TAT-TAT!

Shaking, I unlocked the door and peered out through the chained edge. The headmaster stood there, his face a stone mask. I quickly undid the chain and invited him in…whereupon he uttered a heart-stopping sentence: “I’ve had an allegation that you’ve beaten up one of the boys.” The complainant (he went on) had been medically examined, and blood had been found on the classroom floor.

In my mind’s eye, I instantly saw myself pictured on the front of a newspaper…standing in the dock of the Old Bailey…staring at a blank wall in a prison cell. A pang of panic spread through my abdomen.
The headmaster listened as I presented my denial in shocked tones. Then he simply said: “You’ll be interviewed in due course.” And he closed the door behind him.

I picked up my tea with a shaking hand, and gulped it dry while the endless facets of catastrophe whirled and flashed in my brain. Daniel must have felt exactly like this in the lion’s den…what was I to do?

Well: what did Daniel do? – I knew from reading my Bible that he fell to his knees and prayed. And I knew, too, that Satan is the relentless accuser of the Brethren. Well: the Fiend was not going to relentlessly accuse this member of the Brethren!

So, playing out my own “Daniel in the lion’s den” scenario, I fell to my knees; and, trembling like a half-set jelly in an earthquake, prayed like I had never prayed before. And at the end of my entreaty to the Eternal, I overtly and unashamedly placed the whole of this nightmare situation into His all-embracing hands.

And I say this now as if there had been something else that I could have done if I’d wanted…but actually, there wasn’t. And I didn’t want to do anything else. I already knew that God had envisioned a plan for my life – and I really didn’t believe that He had ever intended my career to hit the buffers in such a disastrous manner!

And so the case rolled on, with other pupils being questioned about my behaviour, my out-of-school activities being examined, and my pre-teaching background being investigated at various levels of intrusiveness. To me, in my vulnerable state, things were looking – and feeling – precarious. Daniel in the lion’s den indeed!

And yet…I felt somehow protected. After my fervent prayer, I felt sure that the Divine was my Defender. And so it came to pass: I appeared before a board of school governors; but, unbeknown to me, several folk – including a professor – had already come forward to testify to my character. In parallel investigations, tests of the blood in the classroom found it to be not real blood, but the theatrical variety bought from one of those establishments known at the time as “a joke shop”. Faced with this evidence, plus testimony from other pupils, the complainant was finally forced to confess that he had intended it all as a prank!

Do joke shops still exist? I hope so. We still need the laughs!

So – all’s well that ends well. But it could all have ended so badly: if the investigation had been less thorough, the nightmare might be with me still. And now you see, don’t you, how my entire life was put in peril even before I became a Pastor! What a mighty God we serve!

You might be interested in …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *