Where’s Jesus? Or, how to survive behind enemy lines

From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by that every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” -  Ephesians 4:16

By Ken Laue

New Mexico felt like nothing more than an obstacle between my young grandkids in Denver and my home and job in Tucson.

I-25 stretched out before me in a long, endless ribbon. I desperately needed a change of scenery.

My map insisted that the Land of Enchantment had a lot more to offer. So I decided to investigate State Route 90 between Silver City and Lordsburg.

Somewhere on that expansive, beautiful landscape, not far from the town of Tyrone, I took a leg-stretcher at a historical marker.

Here I read the story of Judge and Mrs. McComas, who were murdered as they traveled along this very same route in 1883, toward the end of the Apache wars.

Alone and unescorted, the family was ambushed by Chiricahua Apache Chief Chatto and his warriors, who killed the judge and his wife and kidnapped their 6-year-old son.

 A manhunt for the renegade Indians was mounted, but the boy was never rescued, and was more than likely enslaved.

While most of the Apache bands of those days had long since ceased their warfare and acquiesced to reservation life, it was common knowledge that notorious renegade bands like Chatto’s and Geronimo’s still remained at large. Why, then, did this family expose themselves to such a risk? 

The marker did not offer an explanation.

If we keep the eyes of our understanding open, these often harsh realities of our physical world can illustrate spiritual truths.

 Just as Jesus taught heavenly lessons through earthly stories (parables), this account of the McComas family's fate may serve for our instruction.

It is a cautionary tale of a world filled with predators, whether these be animal or human, physical or spiritual.

The truth is that in our fallen world, the weak, the injured – and especially the solitary and the isolated – are easy marks for predation.

Just as this 19th Century family made themselves the targets of a wily, skilled, and deadly enemy, Christians who isolate themselves from Jesus and the family of God may also become vulnerable to spiritual attacks. Without Christ in our lives, human beings are also vulnerable to the predation of Satan and his dark forces.

 This realization is basic to our faith, and instructive to us as we obey the Lord's command to go into all the world to reach the lost.

Ifmy premise, then, is that being isolated from Jesus is deadly, then the vital question becomes Where exactly is Jesus?

In the late 1980’s, illustrator Martin Handford created the Where’s Waldo books.

Searching for Waldo in his trademark striped hat among the intricate, detailed illustrations of huge crowds of people offered Waldo fans an enjoyable challenge.

Jesus told us we will be locating ourselves with Him when He said, “Where I am, there My servant will be also” (John 12:26).

 Okay then, we need to find out where Jesus is, so we can be with Him.

   Now, we know that when we ask Jesus into our hearts, He’s definitely located and living inside us.

  But while that is the most critical part, there is more to discover about God's plan for our location in Him.

  As it turns out, the question of Where's Jesus is a lot easier to answer than Where's Waldo.

  Jesus inhabits the local Bible-believing church headed by a Bible-preaching pastor.

Psalm 68:5-6 tells us that God is Father to the fatherless and a defender of widows, setting the solitary in families.

God wants to put His believers in families; that is, literal bodies of Bible-believing brothers and sisters.

   So if you're a Christian, it is imperative that you attach yourself to and get actively involved in such a church.

  That will go a long way toward keeping you steadfast and firmly grounded in your faith.

Jesus said He would be where two or more believers are gathered together (Matthew 18:20).

Together we are the body of Christ, Paul told the Corinthians.

He also emphasized that the body is never made up of only one part, and that each part supplies what the other parts lack, so the entire body works together to build itself up in love (Ephesians 4:16).

The answer for the early settlers was to attach themselves to a wagon train and to circle the wagons while under attack, in order to defend one another against the common enemy.

While we're not settlers fending off Apaches in the midst of territorial wars, it is vital to realize that this entire fallen world is enemy territory, temporarily under the evil one’s administration, and we dare not travel it alone.