Is my teenager safe? What about my grandchildren? Parents ask these
questions as we face a new school year. But the mixed feelings of school pride
and fear of life-threatening violence can produce on mission opportunities. As
Christians, our comfort is knowing that, when our kids are out of our presence,
God is with them. That is a promise from God! Non-Christians do not have that
assurance. We can reach them with the message that God is their only hope when
their kids are facing the most horrific of situations. Following is the story
of one young man I met while counseling the students and parents of the
Columbine High School tragedy.
"Why didnt God stop it?" Tears flooded his eyes as he approached me. I
prayed for God to speak through me. I responded, "John, I really dont know. But
I know that God has given us all the free will to do what we want, and
sometimes others get hurt as the result of our actions."
Brushing his tears aside, he snapped back, "Where was God during the
shootings?" "John, where were you during the shootings?" I replied.
"Dont avoid the question," he demanded.
"Im not, John, can you tell me where you were that day?"
"At the last minute instead of going to the library, I decided to go off
campus to lunch," his voice mellowed.
"Do you think God played a role in that?" I probed.
He pressed: "What about the kids who were killed? Why didnt God get them out
"John, again, I dont know about that, but after talking with a couple of
students who were in the library, I believe God was right there."
"How?" he inquired.
"Well, the two kids I talked to are Christians, and they said that it was as
if the shooters didnt even see them when they looked under the tablethough they
looked right into their eyes. Its as if God made them invisible to the
shooters. Also they said that as some of the Christians (who were killed) got
shot, it seemed as if they didnt have any painlike God took away their pain or
was right there to comfort them so they didnt feel the pain. I can almost
guarantee, from the stories Ive heard, that in some way God made Himself very
real to each of those students in the midst of the chaosalmost as if He
shielded them from the horror of it all."
I elaborated: "John, did you hear about the propane bombs in the cafeteria
that didnt explode? They could have killed about 400 more people. The killers
had more than 70 bombs, and most of them didnt go off. Did you hear about all
the students who were led to safety by other students and staff? Did you hear
about all the students who were saved by rescue workers on the scene and at the
hospitals? Again, why did you go off campus for lunch? I believe God has some
special plans for your life because you could have been in the library." John
"John, do you have a relationship with God like they described tonight at
I continued: "In the Bible, God says, I will never leave you nor forsake
you [Joshua 1:5]. That is a promise from God, and I know that for the
Christians who died at Columbine that day, God was right there with them to the
end. In Romans 8:28 the Bible says, And we know that in all things God
works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his
purpose. These two verses are guarantees only for Christians though,
because they are the ones who are called according to his purpose. God gives us
all a chance to accept Jesus as our Savior, but not all people accept that
invitation. Once we become Christians, then God has a calling for our livesa
plan that is unique to us with the gifts and talents He has given us. Do you
"Now I do," he answered.
"Would you like to make that decision to accept Christ into your life
"Yes," he smiled.
That night, what Satan planned for evil through the Columbine shootings, God
turned around for good in Johns life.
Johns name was changed to protect his privacy.
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