What Are You Doing Here?
by Steve Bacon
My wife and I were out to dinner and being waited on by an attractive young adult woman. After taking our order, she turned her attention to the table alongside ours. As she turned and walked away Gina quietly asked if I’d noticed the waitress’s tattoo. When she came back in view, doing my best to not appear like a stalker or some creepy guy, I happen to catch a few words that have been inked into the back of her neck. They read, “Greater is He who is in this girl…” the collar of her shirt hid the remainder of what was written. A few more glances revealed the last the words “…than he who is in this world.”
The mountain region of New Hampshire is home to the common loon (which happen to be my favorite water fowl) black bears, deer, moose and many, people who prefer nature over humans, especially tourists. It’s hardly the place where you’d expect to see 1 John 4:4 inscribed on the skin of a person in their mid 20’s. While I was planning how to ask her about her tattoo, I also noticed on her right forearm what appeared to be a Christian fish with what looked like a cross laying over it.
In 2017 it’s often hard to distinguish what symbols are being used to promote our heavenly Father and which are meant to mock Him. For instance, did she discover 1 John 4:4 and reword it in a way to exalt herself? Was that Christian fish on her arm being depicted as being crossed out? The widespread convoluted logic of our day makes it almost impossible to know where an individual’s convictions really lay or if they even exist altogether. What added to my suspicions was that just a block away from where we were seated is a popular shop called “The Broom Closet” which is full of pentagrams, crystals and witchcraft related paraphernalia among coexist bumper stickers, statues of Hindu and Egyptian deities and the ever-popular lotus seated Buddhas. A Canaan-style marketplace in the heart of New Hampshire!
The chance finally came I said to our waitress, “I’m curious about your tattoo. Could you tell me about it?” “Which one?” she replied. “I have a few.” I asked about the one on the back of her neck and said how it appeared to be a Bible verse. Her countenance suddenly beamed as she told us she was a Christian and how there seems to be so few people especially among her coworkers who notice or even care about such things. She mentioned something about moving away from New Hampshire to a place where people are more open about their faith. Our conversation ignited a spirit of joy as she discovered she had been serving a group of people who shared the most important aspect of her life, Jesus.
If I remember correctly, Morgan was her name and as I thought about our brief encounter I began to wonder how many of her generation feel the same way? Feeling like they are the only young people in their town or city who have purposely chosen to Christexist rather than coexist. It reminds me of Elijah’s encounter with the Lord on Mount Horeb. Take a moment to read over 1 King 19:1-18.
Elijah was on the run and seemed convinced that God had lost him somewhere along the way, at least until from out of nowhere he heard a voice ask a question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” God proceeded to teach these two valuable lessons to his anxious and discouraged prophet. (1) In solitude, we find God (2) In solitude, we are not alone. Focusing on outward circumstances led Elijah to believe he was terribly outnumbered and the only remaining devoted follower of the true God. Perhaps that was what Elijah had been thinking when God asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah” I wonder if the Lord might have followed that question by saying, “Elijah, I’m right here with you as you stand on Mt. Horeb dwelling in self-pity and doubt just as I was on Mt. Carmel when you fearlessly and unashamedly demonstrated I AM!”
If in this day of relativity and tolerance you have denied to coexist and chosen to Christexist, then from time to time you may need to return to that place of solitude, the still quite place where God is best found. But also remember that uncharacteristic of solitude, you should never feel alone in your battles, isolated and forgotten, afraid to answer the question, “What are you doing here?” Remember you are never alone. The same omnipresent, omnipotent Lord is present as you hide away on your mountain of doubt just as He majestically and powerfully avails Himself on your summits of victory!
Submitted by Pastor Steve Bacon
October 10, 2021
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