As I attempt to work through the recent tragedy at Umpqua Community College, I keep coming back to what the killer was reported to have said before he fatally shot those who claimed to follow Christ:
“…because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second.”
Each time I read that line or go over it in my mind I can hear the jeering, mocking tone and arrogant superiority. In that moment of unrestrained evil, though, truth was spoken. While it was meant as nothing more than sarcastic ridicule and scorn, the gunman’s words were true, were powerful, and filled with hope. In that moment when death was staring them in the face, those people who unexpectedly woke up that morning on the doorstep of eternity were reminded of one profound truth. It was meant as evil, but there are no more hopeful words for those who place their faith in Jesus Christ. They would see God.
They would see God, not as a spectator sees but as a participant experiences. They would not only see but be seen. They would not just see but be welcomed and embraced by the One they would see. It is the promise and assurance given at the end of Revelation.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.
What Chris Harper-Mercer didn’t realize was that he was going to see God as well. His words that to those he martyred were ultimately words of hope, to him they were words filled with dread. He too would see God but while those he killed would see their Lord and Savior, Chris would see the King who’s subjects he had killed and the Father who’s children he had slaughtered.
It is a truth we all must face. Will we see the Savior we served, our Creator we ignored, or the God we opposed? Answer the question…death may only be a second away.