Spotlights in the Darkness
By Lori D'Augostine
-- Imagine walking down the street when a gunman fires a barrage of bullets your way. Do you run for cover? Do you camouflage yourself behind the elderly woman in front of you? Or, do you try to stop the gunman? You have a split second to make a decision and often no time for contingecy planning.
There are no movie cameras or packed out audiences around. This is real life, and you are staring death in the face. One wrong move, and you can say goodbye to all you take for granted. What do you do?
Well, I think it depends on who you are.
We've all heard of several stories in the news of brave men and women making superhuman feats in the midst of national crisis. They are often ordinary people, not seeking stardom or a reality show jump-start into the limelight. They are sometimes the youngest among us, but we may never have been challeged by their lives, unless they were given a backdrop of excruciatingly dark circumstances.
It is as if God Almighty scanned the earth to find those whose faithful lives might confound the wisest of us all. Then, He opened up the heavens to shine His spotlight of glory on each for all the world to see.
They belong in the Hall of Faith along with the other heroes of Hebrews 11 (Noah, Abraham, Moses). There is a mantle over their lives that reads:
"All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." (Hebrews 11:13-16, NLT)
Introducing the life of Cassie Bernall -- former goth girl turned God-chaser. A modern day example of a Pauline conversion, she went from threatening suicide and dabbling in the occult to reading her Bible and witnessing to her friends at school. According to her mother, her coming to Christ was so simple.
Cassie's conversion was a very real thing for her. She wasn't at all emotional. She was very down to earth, very matter of fact: 'Mom, I've changed' was her reaction after a weekend youth group trip.
Then two years later, in her small town of Littleton, Colorado, young Cassie's life drew the attention of the entire world. She was in her Columbine High School library when suddenly confronted by a gunman who posed a simple, yet profound question:
"Do you believe in God?"
She knew the answer. She lived it every day. Now, her answer has challenged an entire generation of young people. Since Cassie's death, thousands have gotten saved at youth rallies put on by her close friends and family across the nation.
Nearly eight years later to the day, a spotlight shone down on the small town of Blacksburg, Va. This time freshman Lauren McCain was in German class when she and 32 others were murdered by a fellow students gunman. Her MySpace page still receives hundreds of hits each day. When you browse what has become her cyber tombstone, her faith speaks loud and clear.
"The purpose and love of my life is Jesus Christ" reads her profile. "I don't have to argue religion, philosophy, or historical evidence because I KNOW Him. He is just as real, if not more so, as my 'earthly' father."
The weekend after her death, CBN News reported that a man got saved in her home church because of her example. Most described her as a consistent Christian. What she spoke in front of her Christian friends was what she walked every day at Virginia Tech.
We can't help but to be inspired by these young heroines. Their lives speak louder than any sermon could. What if the spotlight were suddenly shone on you? What would the New York Times say of you? Could people get saved because of your example? Could people discover evidence such as a MySpace page, hallmarking your love for Jesus Christ?
Living for Christ requires a daily dying to self. It is no longer about you and your name in lights. The apostle Paul referred to our calling as follows:
"For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ." (Philippians 1:20-22)
If God were to open up the heavens and shine His glory on you, what would others see? Would they see you or would they see Christ? We only have one life, one chance to count for something. Let's not waste time.
"It is easy to die for Christ. It is hard to live for Him. Dying only takes an hour or two, but to live for Christ means to die daily. Only during the few years of this life are we given the privilege of serving each other and Christ... We shall have heaven forever, but only a short time for service here, and therefore we must not waste the oportunity."
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