Wednesday, December 23, 2009

spiritual battles

Earlier this week, I went to the Dollar Store for some last minute Christmas things. There is a young man who works there that I always enjoy checking me out. He's friendly, talkative, and polite, three very good qualities.
This trip, however, as he was checking me, I noticed he had a really bad black eye. It was swollen and several different colors, and he had a large band aid in the corner of his eyebrow. It was bad enough that I thought he had been in a car wreck, or maybe mugged or any number of things, and I asked him "What happened to your poor eye?"
He smiled sheepishly at me, and lifted the corner of the band aid. "I had my eyebrow pierced," he said. He had two large silver balls, one on the top of his eyebrow, and one underneath. "Oh, good grief" I cried with a half smile on my face. "I don't feel sorry for you anymore! Didn't that hurt?" "Not really," he said. "The needle didn't hurt at all. It did hurt when he put the clamp in." I just shivered. I couldn't imagine putting myself through that voluntarily. We talked as he finished ringing up my things, and as I left, I said I hoped his eye got better soon. He said he did too, because he planned on having the other eyebrow done next week. I just shook my head at him, and left.
Since the Dollar Store didn't have everything I needed, I stopped at our small towns local grocery store. I bought one item, and got in line to check out. As I waited, I glanced around at the other people. There, standing next to me in line was another young man, but this one seemed a bit different from the one at the Dollar Store. His face was covered with piercings: three just under his bottom lip, more in his eyebrows and in his ears, but these piercings were mean looking spikes. In addition to the piercings, he just looked unapproachable. His shoulders slumped, his face was unhappy looking. He looked as if he expected someone to look at him in a negative way.
I checked out and went to my car. I put my bag in and then got into the front seat, put on my seat belt and got out my keys. As I put the key in the ignition, I looked up and saw the young man with the spiked piercings standing on the sidewalk, waiting for me to back out so he could get into his car. As my car started, our eyes met and I smiled at the young man, but he did not smile back. His eyes looked empty, not mean, not mad, just empty. He didn't even seem to really be seeing me, even though we were certainly looking at each other. In that same instant, a song by Steven Curtis Chapman came on in my CD player, and I heard the words a godly father had written about his daughter: "You are a masterpiece that all creation silently applauds, and you're covered with the fingerprints of God."
The thought immediately sprang into my mind, as I took in again his spiked piercings, sad, unhappy countenance and slouched shoulders, "It's not the fingerprints of God he's covered with."
I lowered my eyes and backed out my car. I felt heavy all the way home. I felt as if for a split second, a veil had been lifted and I could see the spiritual battle taking place for our souls. I felt sad for the young man, whatever it is in his life that made him look like he did that day. I want to remember to pray for him, and even, if God wants, maybe see him again someday when I can talk to him. This is an awfully small town. It wouldn't be impossible.

Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

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