“Good bye mom, I love you!” seventeen year old Cassie told her mother as she walked out the front door and hurried off to school. It was a day like any other, running late, homework to finish before afternoon classes, and normal teenage life in the high school to deal with.
While at school that morning, she handed her friend, Amanda, a note.
“It’s so frustrating to be patient and wait for God’s perfect timing. It’s so hard to remember that his timing is not our timing. That he knows best. I need to learn to trust, be faithful and trusting…and choose his will… P.S. Honestly, I want to live completely for God. It’s hard and scary, but totally worth it.”
Little did either one of them know that would be Cassie’s last day here on earth.
On April 20th, 1999, Cassie and others heard the gun shots down the hall and hid underneath a lunchroom table as the two boys entered and began shooting. One of the boys walked up to the table Cassie was hiding underneath, slapped the tabletop twice with his hand, and bent over to see her.
“Do you believe in God?” he asked.
“Yes,” was all Cassie said.
“Why?” was the boys reply. And before any answer could even be given, he stood up, pointed his 12-gague shotgun at her head, pulled the trigger and Cassie went to spend eternity with her Lord.
By the end of that fateful day, the two high school boys had walked into their school in Colorado, fully loaded with weapons and ammunition, killing 13 people, including Cassie Bernall, and injuring 21 others.
We, as Christians in America, never think that sort of thing can ever happen to us here. If it did, would we be able to take a stand like Cassie did? Would we be like Peter who denied Christ three times in one night, in fear for his own life?
What about something even more simple, like being at work with all of our non-Christian friends and we know they’ll make fun of us if they find out we’re Christians? Would we even take a stand then and let them find out we are Christians?
What about how we act… how we behave… around others in our lives? Do we act in such a way where we can say with our integrity intact, that we are Christians?
In India a few years ago, over 50,000 Christians were displaced… just for being Christian. Most of Jesus’ disciple died by martyrdom; Peter, was crucified upside down. Matthew was beheaded. James was killed by a sword. Bartholomew was flayed to death by a whip. Andrew crucified on an X shaped cross. Thomas died by spear. Matthias was stoned and beheaded. James Alpheus was thrown down from a temple by the scribes and Pharisees, stoned, and brains dashed out with a fuller’s club. Paul was tortured, then beheaded. Thousands of Christians are killed, beaten, tortured, ridiculed, made fun of, laughed at, and shunned every single year all over the world for what they believe. No one is safe.
Perhaps few will ever have to face death here in America for being Christian, but you better believe, in some fashion, we will be persecuted. We will have to choose some day if we will take a stand for God. We will have to choose, and many of do have to choose every day, if we will take a stand or not. Jesus said this would happen to us. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Do you know what that means? It doesn’t mean it’s going to be a dreadful life. It doesn’t mean we need to walk around being scared and wonder when ours is coming. It means we should LIVE. It means we should live for Christ. It means we should live life to the fullest. It means we should love others as best as we know how, because they won’t always be around… we won’t always be around.
How far will you go for the God who created you… for Christ who died for you?
If Jesus calls you to take a stand for Him in your life, will you?
If you are living for Jesus, do you live life to the fullest, loving Him with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and loving others as best as you know how?
Shortly after Cassie Bernall’s death, her youth pastor wrote this:
“Cassie struggled like everyone struggles, but she knew what she had to do to let Christ live in her. It’s called dying to yourself, and it has to be done daily. It means learning to break out of the selfish life….It’s not a negative thing, but a way of freeing yourself to live life more fully. The world looks at Cassie’s ‘yes’ of April 20, but we need to look at the daily ‘yes’ she said day after day, month after month, before giving that final answer.”Michael W. Smith - This Is Your Time
3 – Mark 14:66-72
4 – 2 Timothy 3:12