As a mom, I’ve found myself in some really unusual places…places I would never go on my own.
Today, I found myself in a body piercing/tattoo place in a large mall in Auburn, Washington, called the Supermall. My oldest daughter turns 17 tomorrow, and she has been working on me and her dad to let her get a tiny little stud in her nose. Finally, I acquiesced, since she wasn’t asking for a tattoo, a ring in her nose, or any other piercing in an unconventional place on her body.
My daughter was going to have it done with a friend of hers, and we planned to meet her and her mom there. My daughter’s friend had told her about the shop, and we arrived first. As we stood outside of the store and surveyed the interior, my daughter and I looked at each other. She said, “Mom, they all look like this. You just get in, git ‘er done, and get out.” I wondered if I was doing the right thing even setting foot in the store.
The overall color within the store was black. There was clothing in the front portion of the store with hideous designs on the front. There was a t-shirt in the front window with the head of a devil on it. To the left were dozens of belts with silver spikes on them. In the back, on one side was the tattoo parlor, and on the other, a room named, “Piercing Room.”
We sat down on a bench to wait. I turned to my daughter and scooted close to her. “We’re going to pray for protection right now,” I said, and put my arm around her and prayed not only that we would be protected, but also that the people within the place would sense the Light of the World within us as we went in.
When my daughter’s friend and her mother arrived, we ventured into the store. As the girls surveyed the tiny little nose jewels that they could choose from, I looked across at a young man who was sitting on a stool. He had tattoos all over his legs, arms and all around his neck. His dark hair was shaved on the sides, and long from the front down the back. He had so many piercings on his face that I lost count. He had at least 5 piercings through his bottom lip alone, several others through both ears, and even more between his tattooed eyebrows. He had gauges in his earlobes–those round things that stretch your ear lobes beyond recognition. But he was small in stature, and I began to wonder if all the piercings and tattoos made him feel bigger, fiercer, stronger.
I soon found out that he would be doing the piercing for the two girls. I consoled myself thinking that clearly, he took piercing seriously. And after we went back to the “piercing room” and he prepared to do the job, I watched as he washed his hands, and set out the instruments as carefully and sanitarily as any surgeon would.
And then I began to pray. I prayed not only for the girls, but for the young man. I prayed that he would feel the presence of Jesus. The young man didn’t say much through the piercing, but as the girls finished up, he began to warm up to them. He was soft-spoken as he told them how to care for their piercings.
Then I noticed the sweatshirt he wore. On the front was the image of a devil head with curly ram’s horns, and a Satanic circle. I prayed even more for the young man. Then I asked him his name. “Adner,” he said. “Feel free to call me if you have any questions. I’m here every day.” Hmmm, I thought. He doesn’t have much of a life.
We left not long after that, and I realized that I had felt complete peace while in the presence of evil, because of the covering of Christ. And it occurred to me that if we, as Christians, refuse to walk into such places, how will we know the Adners to pray for them? How will the Adners of this world know what a “city on a hill” looks like if they remain in absolute darkness? How will they know that they are in darkness at all unless they see the “great light” that is Christ within us?
We need to venture into the dark places and not be afraid because God is there. We need fear no evil, for He is with us. His rod and His staff, they comfort us. And Jesus is in those dark places that seem like the valley of the shadow of death, because He, the Great Shepherd, is seeking the lost. He is seeking Adner, just as He sought Mary Magdalene, Paul and the adulterous woman.
Please pray for Adner, that he would come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. And pray for all the other employees of the store, “Body Jewelry,” that those in the darkness would see a Great Light, and that they would invite Jesus into their hearts.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. (Isaiah 9:2)