Once again, our nation is rocked by a mass shooting on a college campus, this time in Oregon. According to survivors, the shooter asked those who were Christians to stand, then murdered them. I’ve thought about how I would respond. I don’t think we really know until we are in that situation. But I pray that in such a trial God would give me the grace needed to stand true to Him.
The students who were shot and/or killed could have remained in their seats, or even sat down after the first person was shot. They didn’t. They stood firm to the end.
I can’t help but wonder what went through their minds as they waited seconds, minutes for their deaths. Did they think of beloved family, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends? Did they think of seeing Jesus momentarily? Were they in shock? Whatever went through their minds, these individuals honored their Lord by standing for Him.
Let us pray for families and friends who are suffering the horrific fall-out from this evil. I can’t imagine the shock and anguish of these families, and on the school campus. Pray for comfort, peace, and hope–all of which take time. Yes, hope in God’s promises …
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV
Jesus was there in that classroom with the professor and students. They were not alone.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10 NIV
Persecution of Christ-followers is not new. The Apostle John wrote to the church in ancient Smyrna (today’s Izmir in Turkey) who were going through severe persecution. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer … Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I (God) will give you life as your victor’s crown.” (Rev. 2:8-11 NIV)
These deaths are a tragedy for all of us. They are an even greater tragedy for those who have lost a loved one. But the murders were not carried out in a vacuum. God was THERE.
He gave His life for me, ransomed me from sin, and promised me eternal life. May I remain faithful through life and to death.
I AM A CHRISTIAN