The Joey Chronicles – Revelation / “Evil Is Not Winning”
When Pastor John was growing up he had an imaginary friend named Joey.
These are growing up stories told from Joey’s point of view!
Joey never had a problem with bullying. Sure, kids would say mean things to him sometimes and there were boys and girls that he knew to stay away from, but Joey never sat around feeling sorry for himself.
Why the positive attitude? He wasn’t sure. Maybe it was because his parents said they were proud of him and they loved him. Maybe he was so busy with music and sports that he didn’t have time to worry about a poor self-image. He always tried to find something good to say about his friends and they would say nice things to him. Was that the reason? He wasn’t sure.
Jesus had something to do with it too – that’s what his Sunday School teacher told him. Joey had to take her word for it because he couldn’t tell for sure most of the time.
Things were going well up until second grade. First grade was cool – he loved the smell of crayons and play dough and paper mache on a cool fall morning where the bright lights of his classroom welcomed him on a stormy day.
His first grade classroom at Hector Campbell Grade School was down the schoolyard hill from his backyard. His Mom told him much later that she could take a pair of binoculars and see him raise his hand in class when the teacher asked questions.
Second grade was different. His class was further down the hill and most of his best friends were in the other class. His teacher wasn’t as nice as Mrs. Freeborg and kids made fun of his new glasses and the books he read.
Joey didn’t just like to read, he loved to read. And when he wasn’t drawing pictures of tanks and airplanes and parachutes he was reading about Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone and any other action book he could get his hands on.
In fact, second grade was so depressing that he read more and more until one day the unthinkable happened.
When Joey’s teacher stepped out of the room, four boys surrounded his desk, pushed his chair away opened the desktop in front of him.
“What do we have here, Baker? I’ve never seen so many library books in my life!” Carl Nase began to pull out the books, counting as he did.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.” All of a sudden the whole class was counting with him until they reached thirteen.
“Thirteen books! What a wimp!” Carl Nase and his brother stood Joey up and pushed him to the back counter where they bent him over painfully and started yelling, “Baker is a sissy! Baker is a sissy!”
Joey fought back the tears and wondered why his friends weren’t helping him out. He guessed they were probably too scared.
By the time the teacher returned the boys had hurried to their seats and Joey was shoving books back into his desk without looking up at anybody.
“Joey, don’t ever bring that many books to school again.” His teacher continued, “I hope some of those aren’t overdue. You take at least half of them home today!”
Carl Nase and his friends snickered and nobody came to Joey’s defense.
Week after week Joey worried about Carl and his friends. He quit reading so many books – it just wasn’t fun anymore. He watched as other children avoided him at recess.
This went on until the week before Thanksgiving when Joey’s Dad appeared one afternoon right after lunch.
His Dad walked up to the front of the class and began talking quietly but firmly to his teacher.
“But, Mr. Baker…”
“No buts – here is the paperwork from the principal’s office. My son is moving now.”
“And you boys…” His Dad looked at Carl and his friends. “The principal would like to see you in his office immediately.”
Joey walked out with his Dad wondering what had just happened.
In the hallway his Dad explained. “Son, you have been going through a hard time this year. We know. Your Mom and I have been keeping up with you through another teacher friend and we’re so sorry for what you have had to put up with.”
“But we are proud of you too. You never complained and you made the best of a tough situation.”
“We realized last night it was time to pull you out. We’re glad for how you have grown in the middle of an impossible situation, but it’s time to rejoin your friends from last year and move to the other class.”
Joey felt like dancing even though he didn’t know how. He walked into his new classroom and the first thing he heard was, ‘It’s Baker! You finally get to be in the best class! Sit here! No, sit over here!”
He felt like he was home. And he felt even better when his new teacher excused him for the rest of the day to go have a chocolate milkshake with his Dad.
In the book of Revelation God our Father shows us just how much he knows about the problems we are facing here on earth. He’s left us here for a reason – to tell others about Jesus. But the day is coming soon when we get moved from earth to heaven to be with Him forever. And once the party starts the Bible guarantees that it will never end!
And Joey’s Sunday School teacher said heaven would have many of the things he loved so much.
Joey hoped so, because every good party needs chocolate milkshakes.