Tom Wilson was the most excited he had ever been. It was his sixteenth birthday! Even though his family was quite poor, Tom was still happy because a few days ago he and his dad had bought a cheap car for him. Tom was a good kid, and he had every intention of paying his dad back with the money he earned from his new job at the paint shop. His birthday was the day before the start of the second semester, so Tom was relieved that he didn’t have to catch a ride with his friend Billy, who had to come out of his way every day to pick Tom up. That night Tom called Billy.
“Billy, I don’t need rides anymore because I just got my license and I got a car. I will pay you back tomorrow for what I already owed you.”
“OK, see ya’ tomorrow,” said Billy. Tom had practiced driving with his parents for almost a year so he was quite comfortable with himself driving. His parents also were not worried.
The following morning, Tom ate a quick breakfast, and after he was on the road for a few minutes by himself for the first time, the butterflies in his stomach disappeared. When he got to school, he parked his car in his parking space, locked the doors, and walked up to a group of guys who were standing on the sidewalk in front of school.
“What kind of car is that?” asked Pete sarcastically. Tom bit his tongue in anguish.
“Where did you buy that, the junk yard?” asked another boy.
Tears welled up in Tom’s eyes, and he quickly turned around, not wanting to be called a baby by his “friends.” The bell rang, to Tom’s relief, and he hurried inside as fast as he could. Grabbing his books, he hurried to his first hour class and sat down, putting his forehead in his hands. Tom felt horrible all that day. When his day of miseries at school was over, Tom drove home, parked his car in the driveway, and went inside. Not even saying “Hi” to his mom, Tom went down stairs and slammed his door. It seems like everyone hates me just because we’re poor. How can I help it that Dad can’t hold a steady job because of his disease? No matter how hard we work, there’s never enough money. It’s just not fair! This incident brought back bad memories of third grade. Tom had just gotten new jeans from a neighbor in place of his old pair. When he got to school, everyone had mocked him about his jeans just like they had mocked him about his car today. And once he started thinking, Tom could remember all kinds of times when he had been the object of cruel mocking. He slammed his fist into his pillow.
Mrs. Wilson wondered where Tom had disappeared to so quickly. He usually had one thing on his mind to do after school and that was to raid the cupboards for something to eat. About fifteen minutes later, she went down to Tom’s room. Tom was laying on his bed crying, and his pillow was wet.
“Tom, what happened?” Mrs. Wilson asked worriedly.
“Pete and another boy were mocking me about my car,” stuttered Tom.
“It’s all right, just because some other people don’t like your car, doesn’t mean it’s bad,” reassured Mom.
“I know but it’s more than that. They don’t like my car, but they mock me. Why do I have to take all this ridicule?”
“Just remember what it says in Matthew 27:29. ‘And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocking him, saying, Hail King of the Jews.’ The soldiers hated and mocked Jesus just like some of the kids at school mocked you. And Jesus did not even say a word,” said Mom.
“Thank you Mom,” said Tom, “and tomorrow when I go to school I will just ignore them if they mock me or say anything mean. It doesn’t make things easy, but it helps knowing that Christ went through the same things.” Tom felt much better when he started on his homework that night because he still had Mom’s comforting words in his mind and heart. They were God’s comforting words. ❖