It’s back to school time. It always kicks in the memory bank for me.
Some of the most pronounced memories come from my years of teaching in a one-room, eight-grade school in the Kentucky mountains. This was grossly different from teaching I had done before.
Not only was I the teacher, but also the bus driver in my own vehicle and the cook in the hot lunch program I started. While at school with numbers usually in the area of 20 students, I was the only one in the area with a car. There were no telephones for miles in any direction.
Most of us had to cross the creek to even get to the school. That crossing was either by driving through the creek when weather and water levels permitted or by walking across the swinging bridge.
You could safely say we were in a rather isolated rural setting!
One day during outdoor play time following lunch break, I heard unusual activity on the playground.
Help was needed. And I was that help.
One of the older boys, probably a seventh-grader, while running in the game they were playing, had brought his barefoot heel down on a piece of glass! He was in agony.
Now, don’t jump to conclusions – this kid was no wimp! He could stand anything any of us could and he was not crying, but was in agony. In my vehicle, I carried a make-shift first aid kit. Someone quickly retrieved that.
When I examined Richard’s foot, I found very little blood but the injury was significant simply by his reaction. Closer examination revealed a small entry wound but something was definitely causing the problem.
In our isolated, rural setting with no vehicle besides my own and no telephone, if I left with him immediately, it would be an hour’s drive to the Emergency Room. And I still had the rest of the kids to take care of.
There was just one answer I could see – I would have to take care of the injury!
I could see the tip of the very thick glass but it appeared to be much larger than the entry wound. “Richard, to get the glass out, I will have to make the cut much larger and it will hurt – a lot!” He gave the go-ahead. I had the older, larger students hold him down while using the only tool I had, a single edge razor blade, to cut his foot.
He fought. He yelled. But he allowed the work to be done.
When I finally retrieved the glass piece, I found it was triangular in shape and been driven into his flesh with a flat side up. Richard’s agony was over when it was removed.
I don’t remember what after care I recommended, but the end result was a nicely healed wound without infection.
Where was God that day?
He was right there in the midst of the situation – in Richard who allowed the work to be done, in each one who helped hold him so I could work, in my hands in spite of my lack of know-how and equipment! Yes, God was right there using each of us in His own way.
Because, you see, God has promised to never leave or forsake us once we invite Him into our lives.