As Christians in America we have had it pretty easy. In other countries around the world, professing a faith in Jesus Christ might get you jailed – or beheaded.
But the recent massacre in Oregon – in which a gunman shot and killed those who professed to be Christians – reminds us how very real spiritual warfare is in America, too.
We have an enemy, and he is real, and he hates us – by Jennifer Kabbany
Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who enjoy the freedoms and comforts of the United States of America, what would you do if you knew standing up and saying “Yes, I am a Christian” would get you two slugs in the brain and a one-way ticket into the arms of Jesus?
“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were christian,” tweeted Bodhi Looney, who claims her grandmother was in the classroom. “If they said yes, they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.”
As I heard the news, I couldn’t help but imagine what I would do if a madman came into a classroom I was in, guns a’ blazing, demanding to know my faith.
After 40 years on this planet, I can say one thing for certain, and that is I have profoundly experienced the redemptive healing and forgiving powers of Jesus Christ and God’s wisdom, mercy and grace.
I hope and pray that, if I ever found myself staring down the barrel of a gun, I would not and could not turn my back on my Lord. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that I would rather die than deny Jesus Christ, for we know we do not really face death, just a transition to a new life.
In fact, according to some chilling accounts, the shooter believed this too, telling several students before he shot and killed them: “Because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second.” Another account claims the killer left a hate-filled note saying he believed he would be “welcomed in Hell and embraced by the devil.”
If this is true, then this Oregon madman is as deceived as those who behead Christians in the name of Allah. And if he did meet Satan upon his death Thursday, he did not get that high-five he expected.
The tragedy in Oregon, meanwhile, is reminiscent of stories from Columbine all those many years ago, in which many accounts claimed the teen shooters murdered peers as they prayed.
Jesus told us that “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
Yes, there is evil in the world. But there is a redemptive love and power stronger than that evil – the grace of Jesus, his love and sacrifice for us all.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have seen America turn from God, slowly but surely, over these last few decades. Things will get worse before they get better. We must be prepared to face an ever-strengthening persecution.
We got a glimpse of that when Kim Davis went to jail. Regardless of whether you believed she did the right thing, make no mistake, religious persecution is alive, well and growing in America.
At times like these, we must have faith. God tells us in the book of Hebrews that “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
The book adds: “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”
So now what? Now we pray. Now we rest in faith. Now we fix our eyes purposely and consciously on the power of God and his promises.