(I shouldn't make it sound barren and ugly; the rock formations were unparalleled in their beauty. The red dust was lovely when it wasn't blowing in your eyes and mouth. And the heat wasn't bad when you were sitting in the hotel swimming pool. Alright, alright! I'm sorry. I really did enjoy it; I'm just a cold-weather-and-lots-of-big-mountains-and-trees sort of person. Anyways. As I was saying...)
It was our family vacation, and we were right in the center of Arches National Park, getting ready for a three-mile hike up to Delicate Arch and back. At the base of one of the rock formations, one of the rangers was speaking to a group of about ten people -adults and children- about how the arches were formed. It was your typical evolutionary viewpoint. She was a very sweet girl with a very sweet voice, and hands-on displays that the kiddos were all over. She talked about plate tectonics, and all the various layers with all the various made-up fossils drawn to look part bird and part lizard. Of course, the words "million" and "billion" were used excessively.
And all who stood in the crowd smiled and nodded. They paid a respectful amount of attention, encouraging their little ones to go up and touch her flour-and-water replica of water erosion and earth quakes.
All but one, that is. There was one woman near the front who suddenly raised her hand and asked, "Could I say something?" The ranger smiled and said that of course she could. The woman took a deep breath and started. "I believe that the earth is around 6,000 years old. I believe that around 4,400 years ago, there was a world wide flood that covered the face of our planet, creating these rock formations that we're standing in front of. I believe that the fossil record supports this theory, and not only the fossil record, but the stronger record of God's spoken word -the Bible."
To be honest, I don't really remember much about that trip to Moab, Utah, two years ago. But that scene, which had begun and ended within five minutes, is imprinted vividly in my mind. I distinctly remember what the park ranger looked like, and exactly what was said. I distinctly remember that one woman, who probably expected to be completely alone in her declaration. She must have thought that she was going to be totally roasted for speaking that out loud. Because, only uneducated hicks and fanatics believe that, right? I mean, you never go into a National Park with educated professionals and tell them that theory. You'd be laughed off the premises, or asked to leave the group. I mean, who does that? Well, I'll tell you who does that. My Mom does that.
There was that awkward sort of pause that comes when something very politically incorrect has been said, and no one really knows what to say. After that tense moment, someone spoke. "I'd like to hear more of that." There were nods all around, and more people said things like,
"That's the truth."
And then the biggest shock of all. The park ranger who had been doing the talk pulled a cross necklace out of her shirt so everyone could see it. "I believe that too," She said.
Now, two years later, when I think back on that situation, I am so very ashamed. Every single person there professed some degree of Christianity, and a belief in young-earth creationism -even the woman giving the presentation. But do you realize that no one would have known that if it weren't for my mom?
The woman giving the presentation decided that Jesus Christ and His Truth took second place to her pay check. If evolutionists were paying her wages, well then she would teach evolution. But don't worry, she wore a cross necklace!...carefully hidden under her shirt. The adults who stood around her placed politically correct smiles on their faces, and decided that being socially approved of was more important than teaching their children to stand up for the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His glory as the Creator was not worth enough to defend. And so, their children will grow up believing that Christianity is what you believe at home, but evolution, save-the-planet, and humanism is what you believe everywhere else.
But the Bible says God's eyes pierce to the heart of men. Nothing is hidden from His gaze. He saw the heart of everyone standing there. He saw that His life's blood was not worth defending. In what I'm sure humans would perceive as a harmless, tolerant discussion, God saw cowardice and damnable apathy. Can you see the horrible hypocrisy that filled every single individual there? Not a single one actually believed the rot they were hearing, but they all smiled and nodded, because it was the acceptable thing to do. Oh, how Jesus' heart must have ached. How my heart aches now.
As young people, we're often told to stand up for what we believe. Speak truth. Be the light. Always be ready to give an answer for the hope within you. Outwardly, we look up at our parents and teachers and smile confidently.
"Nothing will shake me."
"I will die for what I believe in."
"I will never be silent."
"All for Jesus."
Ironically, few of us seem to remember that when we stare into uncomprehending adult eyes and try to squeak out, "I believe Jesus is God," or when we're surrounded by other teens, knowing that if we open our mouths and say the fateful words, "I'm a virgin, and I don't believe in sex outside of marriage," laughter, wolf whistles, and catcalls will fill the air.
Our mentors try to tell us those fears of ridicule are unfounded. Perhaps, in some circumstances, this may be true. But what if it isn't? What about the time when we actually do get cussed out? When girls are verbally or physically assaulted? When guys are beaten up? I would like to submit to you that those fears are not at all unfounded. I have had people laugh in my face when I tell them that I don't date -with all that that includes- and say things that don't deserve to be reproduced in print. So please, let's not fool ourselves into what seems like a less apathetic position by saying that "none of those things will actually happen".
I'm not trying to make Christianity sound miserable. I'm trying to make it sound like something worth dying for. We've so totally forgotten Calvary that the blood of God now seems cliche. Tolerance is held higher than Truth, and cowardice higher than courage.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." ~ Redmoon
God often asks me, "Is what you have more important than fear?" And, to my eternal shame, sometimes I say no. God forgive me. Sometimes, I don't consider His name to be worth the loss of my reputation. But oh, God be praised when He enables me to say yes! Brothers and sisters, Christianity is meant to be seen! But not for our glory. Never for our glory. The cross that park ranger hid ought to be lifted up, praised, and counted worthy of every drop of blood in our bodies. His name alone should be counted above my entire existence. How can I justify sitting idly by as His name is spat upon and trampled? See, people's response should never, ever, dictate our actions. If everything we do is really for Christ's sake, let the opinion of others be damned (I'm not cursing. I mean it in the most severe, honest, biblical sense of the word).
Jesus Himself tells us that this world will hate us. That's not "be mildly irritated with," or "awkwardly avoid", but hate. Hate. At the moment, the world doesn't hate us. Christians might be annoying to the world, but we're so nonthreatening, so inconsistent, that Hell and her children no longer cower when we pray. Again, God forgive us.
God has created us to war on behalf of the souls around us. He has commanded us to be seen, so that He may be seen. But we all have a question to answer.
"Is what you have more important than fear?"
The choice is yours. The name, blood, and banner of Jesus Christ, your savior, the Man who died for you, lies trampled in the mud at your feet. What are you going to do about it?