Andrew C. Schroer
I have played the various scenarios over and over again in my head. We do that, don’t we? When we hear about tragic events like the shootings that occurred at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, last October, we imagine what we would have done had we been there.
Would I have run and hid? Or would I have responded like Chris Mintz, the U.S. Army veteran who rushed into the building and tried to block the shooter from moving into Classroom 15 where he eventually killed nine people? Chris was shot three times while standing and another four while on the floor. By God’s power and grace he survived.
What would I have done had I been in Classroom 15? Witnesses report that the shooter, Christopher Harper-Mercer, asked his victims if they were Christians. According to witnesses, if the person said he or she was a Christian, Harper-Mercer would shoot that person in the head. If they said they weren’t or if they didn’t respond, they were shot in the leg.
I recently heard someone remark, “The bravest person in the world is the second person who said she was a Christian.”
What would I have done? I like to think I would have said without fear or equivocation, “I am a Christian.” But I don’t know. Would my thoughts have turned to my wife and children? In the end, would it have been a denial of faith to lie to this madman?
What would you have done?
Whatever your answer, I think we can all agree that those who died have given the world a wonderful witness of the courage Christ gives. Their faith was severely tested, and it passed the test.
I’ll be honest, though. I think many, if not most, Christians would have passed that test. Though it is impossible to say for sure until you are in that situation, I think with the help of the Holy Spirit I would not deny my Savior.
A number of years ago, my father fell on the ice. He banged his head. His brain began to bleed. When the bleeding was finally discovered, the doctors told him if it had gone undetected any longer, he would have died.
As he dealt with his life-threatening injuries, my father told me he was at peace. He knew the heaven Jesus won for him. But then he poignantly pointed out something I had never really thought about. “As Christians,” he told me, “we usually do pretty well with the big tests. It’s the little tests we struggle with.”
I once had a doctor basically tell me I was dying. Thankfully, further tests showed I wasn’t, but I remember reacting to the diagnosis with the peace that only Jesus can give. Ironically, though, I often find myself getting sick to my stomach stressing about our family finances.
As Christians, we often face the trials of death and persecution with courage and then worry and fret over credit card bills.
God’s profound promises of forgiveness and heaven, of providence and his presence in our lives, give us the courage to face the bullets of a madman. Those same promises give us the peace and courage to face marital stress, a demeaning boss, or financial downturns.
So, as you wonder what you would do if you had been in Classroom 15, take a moment to consider what you do as you face the more mundane tests God places in your life every day.
Then turn to the promises of his Word. They will give you the peace and courage you need to face whatever test God may send.
Contributing editor Andrew Schroer is pastor at Redeemer, Edna, Texas.
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Author: Andrew C. Schroer
Volume 103, Number 1
Issue: January 2016
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