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The Bruiser

January 15, 1999

“Once God spoke to me and requested that I visit a particular biker bar in a nearby town, because there was someone there that needed to talk to me. The name of the bar was “Satan’s Den.” By the door of the bar was a neon image of the aforementioned, holding a pitchfork and grinning. Well, after a short (praise God) while of being a doubting, nervous Jonah, I arrived at the bar…it was packed …bikes everywhere… the image by the door now seemed to be laughing. All just as I had feared (Job 3:25). I told the wife to pray and keep the car’s motor running… I didn’t know what to expect. Full of faith and putting aside all fears, I snatched open the door, not even giving the image a glance, and strode up to the bar. I found a seat and laid my well worn, 10 x 12 inch Bible on the bar. “I’m here on business… not to party,” I said to everyone and to no one in particular.
Let me tell you, I know what it means when God says in Revelation, “Every eye shall see Him.” It was almost comical, because everyone at the bar was leaning and craning his neck, so that every eye was on that Bible… and then me… and then back to the Bible. Trying to be humble and harmless, I set my gaze straight ahead. I was startled by what must have been the chief bruiser of the place, as he placed his elbows on the bar next to my Bible and fashioned his face only six inches from mine, eyes glowering, and speaking real, real slow, he asked, “Can I help you?” So, filled with the Spirit and innocence of God I explained at length how God had told me during prayer to come down here because someone needed to talk with me, but that God didn’t tell me who, and I wondered if he knew anything about all this. I was vaguely aware of a gathering crowd at my back, and could see that all glass lifting at the bar had ceased, and yep, every eye was still on me and the BOOK that graced their bar.
“Just a minute,” said the big bruiser, as he slowly dropped one arm and reached under the bar. “He’s going for the club,” my mind screamed as my heart hammered. “Are you willing to turn the other cheek?” I felt the Lord whisper. I lowered my head, closed my eyes; I couldn’t stand to watch. Long seconds passed and nothing happened! Looking up, I saw the bruiser was filling several mugs of beverage for some folks down at the end of the bar. God delivers!!! It appeared the crowd had somewhat thinned out, and the loud music had subsided, as well.
I felt my confidence return. I seemed almost calm, and was rededicated to finding my man. When the bruiser returned to his former in-my-face position, he asked, “You’re for real ain’t you?”
“Oh yes!” I replied, taking the opportunity to ask if I might take the stage to make an announcement about the person I needed to find. But he wagged his big head from side to side in a forceful negative gesture. My mouth closed, my mind refused to function… I was silent. There was a long pause as the bruiser stared at the floor, then he quietly answered, “It’s me.”
In my surprise I stood upstraight on the stool rungs, “You???” I stammered, “YOU?” My tongue seemed stuck on repeat as my body regained the sitting position. I was awestruck.
“Yes,” came a small, quiet voice, from a now lost and broken looking bartender. We hugged across the bar as we choked back tears and made arrangements to meet after his shift. The mugs at the bar resumed their up and down journey.
The journey of the bartender had just begun. That evening we talked and read Scriptures till dawn, when he finally made peace with God and started his journey of rebuilding the wasteland of his life.
Anyway, God showed me this is what Daniel and the lions were all about. Trusting God through faith, even in the midst of fears and doubts. Don’t look at the wind and waves. It’s too scary. Nothing we do can pull us through; it is the building of God inside of us that stands.”

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