Deceived Once More
My blog posts normally relate to announcements concerning magic or tours. However, when I read the countless news articles about the recent events in Oregon at Umpqua College, I felt the need to post something.
When I first heard the news my heart was broken. It was broken at the fact that he singled out my brothers and sisters in Christ and took their life. It is very easy to look at news like this and immediately start thinking about how we could have prevented it, or thinking the world is in the worst place it has been. It is easy to get political very quickly and start blaming people not involved. It is too easy to fall into these deceptive arguments.
However, as I read the accounts of the people involved it hit me. This terrible occurrence was a look at the bold ministry of the believers who were killed. They looked their killer in the face and claimed they were a follower of our Sovereign Lord, Jesus Christ. They looked at a killer who was Deceived Once More. A killer who was depraved, attempting to overpower the believers of that school. However, they understood something I pray on a daily basis that I will understand. That their lives are not as important as the message of Christ. They realized their lives were not their own but Christ’s, and when a violent man comes in asking for Christians to stand up so they can be killed, they knew they were not standing because they go to church on Sunday. They did not stand because the read their bible every morning or pray twice a day. They stood because they understood that their life is not their possession. It is completely under the control of our gracious God, and to die is gain (ref. Phil. 1:21). AND because of that understanding, they truly had the victory. I am finding so much hope thinking how they are in presence of God right now having gone through a death that can preach more truth than their words ever could.
In the time of the Roman empire, a deacon in Rome, St. Lawrence understood the same thing. The Empire sent an appeal to the church requesting the treasures of the church to fund new projects. The Emperor gave him a date he would send soldiers to acquire the vast wealth. As the time drew near, St. Lawrence ran around and pulled together the blind, lame, broken, sick, and homeless. He brought them all into the sanctuary on the day the soldiers were coming. The soldiers arrived and knocked on the door. He swung open the doors and said, “Behold in these poor persons the treasures which I promised to show you; to which I will add pearls and precious stones, those widows and consecrated virgins, which are the church’s crown.” In other words, these people are the treasures of the church. He was taken and grilled alive for his actions. He knew his actions meant death, but he knew the message was more important than his life.
I look to St. Lawrence and the believers in Oregon with great respect. I pray the Lord makes me half the follower they were. I pray that the church is awakened to the understanding that the message of God we put our hope in, that we devote our lives to, is not just a message. It is life. Those believers killed yesterday in Oregon are more alive right now than they have ever been. We need to keep their families in our prayers as they go through this rough time.
Church, let us remember what the students as Umpqua College remembered. Our lives are not our own, they are God’s. “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being,” (Genesis 2:7). God is the one who breathes life into our lifeless bodies. Those students were willing to die because of this.
Are we willing to live for Him because of this? He is a good father. In times like this it is hard to believe He is in control, but He is. We must trust God and in the meantime, pray for our brothers and sisters who go face to face with death for the life-altering message of redemption.