Today, I will see my testimony come full circle. Do you ever have those moments in life, that make you stand back and marvel at the hand of God? This is one of those moments for me.
In my children’s elementary school, they have a program in the mornings called Rise and Shine. It’s an inspirational start to the day where the kids learn the Pledge of Allegiance, the State of Oklahoma salute and the Tiger creed which involves character attributes like Tenacity, Integrity, Gratitude, Encouragement and Respect.
With each Rise and Shine they start their day off with a moment of silence to reflect, meditate or pray about the day ahead. And when you stand in the gymnasium with 600+ kids who pause and take an actual moment of silence, it’s powerful.
Today, my kindergartener will be the one on stage leading and teaching the quote of the week to the school. We’ve been memorizing it at home.
“Look for the best in others.” by Rachel Joy Scott
For those that don’t recognize that name right away, Rachel Scott was one of the victims in the Columbine shooting in 1999. Her story includes pieces of her relationship with Jesus and her refusal to deny that she was a Christian in the face of death. Her testimony changed my life forever.
In 1999, I was a Senior at Littleton High School in Littleton, CO. I heard of the mass chaos happening while at school on April 20th, but learned of all of the details just like every other American after I returned home and sat, glued to the television in complete shock that this was happening miles from where I went to school. The following week, I remember walking around the halls in a daze. We all were. We had classes where teachers just stopped teaching as we were all processing the event still. I will never forget it.
This single event changed my life. I had been born into a family that believed in God and went to church but the relationship with Him had not yet taken hold in my heart. Sure, if anyone would have casually asked me if I was a Christian, I might have said yes, depending on the day, but in the face of a gun? I couldn’t answer that truthfully in my heart. Rachel’s testimony left me pondering a very important question introspectively in my heart for weeks.
After the tassles had turned and the celebrations of graduation had ended, I was still wrestling with my eternity. It was that summer that I finally developed my own relationship with Jesus. God became real to me. I finally landed on the decision to follow Him for real, with my whole heart because if Rachel Scott was willing to die for him, then that’s what real faith looked like.
Jesus, being fully human died a very real death on the cross for me and I finally understood what it meant to deny Him. I had a real life martyr as an example of love and faith to learn from. Sixteen years later, I can answer that deep question honestly in my heart of hearts; what would I do if the same gunman walked into my school?
Each year on April 20th, I remember. Not because it’s a traumatic memory for me, but because I’m thankful that God used Rachel’s story to change my heart.
Almost 16 years to the day, my son gets to stand in front of his classmates, in a public school, and teach out of the journal of Rachel Joy Scott. It’s a full circle moment.
This isn’t about Rachel per say, but it is about the message that her life and ultimately her death can convey. No matter what your age, no matter what your background or family history; take your eternity seriously. Think about it. Weigh it in your heart. Being a Christian isn’t about all of the do’s and don’ts list or the attendance at church. It isn’t about rejecting this people group or that one for their lifestyle choices, but about looking for the best in others. Being a Christian is about following Jesus, studying his life and trying to learn from his words to us in the Bible. It’s about loving all people. It’s about asking God for help, knowing that I’m not good enough or pure enough to enter eternity with Him forever without Jesus vouching for me.
Today, I know what my answer would be in the face of death. The question of eternity is a world wide denominator. What would you do?