I’ll always remember Sophie and how she didn’t wobble when faced with a difficult situation.
Nothing about the circumstances would knock her off her feet. She was determined to stand firm.
Sophie was in my Awana group, a sweet girl who did not come from a sweet family. Her parents fought constantly, ignored her and her siblings, and scorned anyone who said anything about God.
But Sophie’s grandmother was faithful about getting the 12-year-old to church as often as she could.
Sophie trusted Christ. She listened and she asked questions. She wanted to know more and more about God’ s Word and she soaked it all up like a sponge in a puddle of water. And she sang. Sophie loved to sing … and she was good. Her huge blue eyes would sparkle with life as she sang the songs during Large Group. For a girl from a tougher-than-tough background, she had learned joy.
But then there was that one night.
I could tell as soon as she walked in the door that she was troubled. She glided to her seat (she always seemed to glide) and then stared straight ahead.
“Sophie?” I asked. “Is something bothering you?”
“Yes.” Her sparkling eyes glistened with tears. “I don’t know what to do.”
I reached over and touched her hand. “Why not tell me about it?”
“School,” she started. “I’m in choir.”
I listened. I wasn’t sure yet why this was a problem.
“Our teacher brought out the songs for the spring concert today. Most of them are awesome, but one of them has a bad word in it. I mean, a really bad word. I don’t want to sing it.”
I stared at her, amazed that she had even caught the word and was thinking this through.
“Did you talk to the teacher?” I asked.
“I did.” She gazed off into space. “She laughed at me and was very con … con … conde … – What’s that word?”
“Yes, that’s the word. She wanted me to feel stupid for even bringing it up. Then she told me just to sing another word in its place, but I don’t want to do that. People will still think I’m saying the real word.”
Again I marveled that this young Christian was taking something so seriously that most kids wouldn’t even notice.
“Pray for me,” she said. “Tomorrow I’m talking to the principal.”
“I will,” I promised, amazed that this shy child was courageously taking the next step and going to the school administration.
Sunday she was at church with her grandmother so I sought her out and asked her what had happened.
‘Not good, Miss Linda,” she said sadly. “The principal said that those songs had been approved and they couldn’t be changed.”
Then I saw a sparkle in those blue eyes. “But I have an idea.”
I could not imagine what she was planning next.
But Sophie truly did have an idea.
When I saw her on Wednesday night, the joyful Sophie was back. “Miss Linda, I did it!”
My curiosity bubbled over. “How?”
“Well, the teacher wouldn’t listen. The principal wouldn’t listen, so I went to the kids. I went to EVERY SINGLE KID in choir and asked why they would want to sing such a horrible word. Many hadn’t even thought about it, but when I bought it up, they agreed that it was a REALLY, SUPER bad word. I mean everyone didn’t agree, but I just told them that most of the other kids refused to say the word and they went along with it. So during the choir rehearsal today, we all just stayed silent when we were supposed to sing THAT word.”
“Did your teacher get angry?” I asked.
“Well, sort of, but mostly she just sighed. Then she said we could substitute the word crazy and that’s what we’re doing. Now I can sing without any worries. Isn’t that great? Now I don’t have to disobey God by letting corrupting talk come out of my mouth.” She gave me a victorious smile as she partially quoted Ephesians 4:29 which she had learned in Awana.
Sophie did not wobble and sometimes when the standing-firm part of my life is more like wavering on trembling feet, I think about her, a girl with no support at home, no parent guiding her, no one walking her through right versus wrong choices … and I stand a little straighter.
Paul wrote: Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:13)
God provides the armor, We need to put it on.
1. Standing firm means constantly strengthening our spiritual armor by reading God’s Word and talking to Him in prayer. Sophie was a new Christian, but she paid attention to God’s Word and what she was learning both at church and at Awana. She was quickly growing in her faith.
2. Standing firm means understanding that Satan, the world, and our own sinful nature can cause us to compromise and make wrong choices. Sophie knew instinctively that that word was wrong and did not want to say it. She was determined not to give in.
3. Standing firm means knowing what we believe and why we believe it. Sophie had learned about corrupting talk and wanted no part of it. She would do what she had to do to avoid it.
I think back to Sophie’s despair about saying a word that was unacceptable.
I think back to Sophie’s joy at finding a solution.
Having done all, she stood firm.
The girl did not wobble.