While there are so many angles one can take when writing about the horrific murders on that Oregon community college campus yesterday, only one came to the forefront of my mind: the Christian witness of those who were murdered.
According to multiple eyewitness accounts, we know the murderer demanded to know the religious beliefs of his potential victims. If they stated they were Christians, he then shot them in the head.
After hearing of this, it was as if God asked me how I would have responded in the same situation. If I knew that answering the man’s question would have resulted in immediate death for me, what would I have said?
It’s easy for me to proclaim, from a safe distance as I currently sit in my easy chair in my study, that I would stand firm for Christ. Yet I’ve never had to make that life-or-death statement of my faith.
I hope that the deep gratitude I have for God’s saving grace would strengthen me at such a moment. I hope that the reality of His presence in my life, and the very real promise of seeing Him face-to-face would be enough to welcome the martyrdom to follow.
Additionally, I would hope my concern for the spiritual condition of those watching would encourage me to make my final seconds on earth an eternal witness to those who don’t know the Truth.
All that is speculative, of course, but the one thing that stands out to me about what occurred yesterday is the amazing testimony of those who made their public profession of faith knowing it was probably the last act of their lives.
If I take the Biblical message seriously, I can say that those who died making that profession are now in the presence of their Lord. They have received their eternal reward.
As for the man who committed this vile deed, reports are coming in that he was an atheist who truly hated Christians. He also has gone to his eternity, but it is of a very different nature.
We have so few years to make our mark for Christ. May we make the best possible use of them. May we, when we move on from this earthly existence, leave a legacy of a Christian witness that will lead others to the Savior.