Published by Barnabas International • PO Box 11211 • Rockford, IL 61126 • Volume XV• No. 4 • April 2001
LEE HOTCHKISS, Executive Director <> LAREAU LINDQUIST, Founder
The Bible, in Hebrews 9:27 says . . . It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment. Death is a certainty. It is a reality that each of us must face and accept. Though we may rarely think about it, death will eventually come to each of us. Usually we see it distantly, as in the death of a stranger. Or it may be closer, as in the death of a friend, a loved one, or even a family member. In recent days, a number of incidents have raised the awareness of death to me.
Evie and I spoke at the USA headquarters of MAF in California. The remains of Nate Saint's plane has recently been uncovered from the sandy beaches in Ecuador, where Nate and four colleagues were murdered over thirty years ago by Auca Indians. Now this plane is on display, sitting in sand, at its new home at MAF. The scene of that plane vividly reminded me of that dreadful day so powerfully told in Elisabeth Elliot's book, Through Gates of Splendor.
Before we spoke in chapel that morning, Leon, a staff member, shared a prayer request with the congregation. He said, By now all of you have heard about the killing of two students by a fellow student just two days ago in a high school here in nearby Santee, California. One of those two boys, Bryan Zuckor, is my nephew by marriage. Please pray for the family.
Later that week we attended a conference where four Columbine students told their story of carnage, which they observed two years ago at a high school in Colorado. Each of them shared the details that they observed and experienced. Each also told of its varied and powerful impact in their lives: drawing them closer to the Lord; having a greater appreciation for their families; developing an awareness of the brevity of life; possessing a greater alertness for ministry to hurting and lonely people; and knowing how quickly difficulties can suddenly enter our lives. Evan said, I've heard people say "into each life, some rain must fall." But for us, that day brought a cloud burst of epoch proportion. He had been shot and wounded in the library where many students were killed. Alisha told of walking with her teacher down the hall when one of the shooters approached them and fired. The teacher was killed. Later, while she was being escorted from the building, she stepped over the body of her dead friend, Rachel Scott. As we listened to them tell their stories, we were again reminded that each of us encounters troubles in a variety of sizes, shapes and severities. Some have large dosages of trouble. These four had a colossal difficulty placed into their young lives. Yet each one revealed the greatness of God in giving Himself to them in love, grace, and tenderness through the enormity of the event. Though the pain was real and severe, so was the reality and compassion of the Lord.
The Apostle Paul writes . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written "for your sake we face death all day long; We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:35-37).
The quotation in the middle of that paragraph is taken from Psalm 44:22. In spite of the death mentioned there, the word victory appears four times in the same psalm. Even as Paul writes of death, he speaks of being more than conquerors. The Old and the New Testaments are speaking of death and victory in the same phrase . . . in the same context. Again Paul states that death has been swallowed up in victory (I Corinthians 15:54).
Even in the crescendo of severities in our lives, we Christians can draw upon the resources we have in Christ and amazingly, we can emerge as conquerors . . . as victors . . . not because of who we are but because of Who He is. An unknown author has said, God chooses what we go through. We choose how we go through it.
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