What good can come from such evil that the world just witnessed in the state that I have called home now for 53 years? I was born and raised in South Carolina. While I am not proud of some of the history of our state, I have forever been proud of living in a state that has such warm, friendly people…that celebrates simple living.
As I drove to Greenwood the morning after the murders, I was struggling to even pray over and think through what I had prepared to speak about at a Flower Power luncheon sponsored by the Ladies Leadership Council of Greenwood, South Carolina. It was supposed to be light and encouraging…NOT Heavy…Fun…but my heart was n-o w-h-e-r-e in that vicinity. I got up early that morning as I always do before I speak, around 4 a.m., to find a text on my phone about the murders in Charleston. People were asking for prayer. So this was the first I knew of the “evil” and “heinous murders!”
Of course I immediately got on the internet to learn the details and then was consumed in prayer and sorrow. I will grieve for many days to come but the one thing I have learned on the Back 9 is to look for God…..to search for Him…in the unthinkable…because HE IS THERE!
For the remaining words of this post I would like to encourage you to look at what He…God…has shown me…..allow me to write it.
First, let me say at age 45 God impressed upon my heart many things that took my faith to a heightened walk. That was 8 years ago. From that time on I have not been afraid of dying as much as I have been afraid of not making a “contribution.” With that being said, I am referring to a contribution that is solely directed by God’s hand and guidance for His design and Will for my life. There was a time when I had a fear of dying in an airplane crash. God used a complete stranger to literally “demolish that fear” even though, at times, Satan still whispers the same lies. I now recognize the lies for what they are and know I must wage war on his deceitful tactics.
But let’s turn to dying for a minute. That is where God took me on Thursday as I reflected on the date that will go down in history, June 17, 2015, as the day of the mass murder of innocent people in South Carolina. NOW as I reflect, if I could pick a way and time to die, I would want to die while worshiping Jesus. WOW! Those beautiful people died praying and worshiping God. Their lives now will forever scream…shout….and INFLUENCE me in my daily life…Most unknown to me before June 17th but now a tremendous influence.
…no matter how I die or when….I want my contribution to be found in the faithfulness in my daily life…TO SERVE and worship….my Creator….Jesus Christ.
I celebrate today the many things that the lives of the martyrs of June 17 have taught to millions now. The MOST SIGNIFICANT IS WHERE THEY WERE AND WHAT THEY WERE DOING WHEN THEY DIED and Who they Welcomed. WHAT A WITNESS TO OUR WORLD! They had no idea on that day that their daily lives of loving God would be used to speak on a WORLD STAGE and cost them their lives.
Hebrews 11 lists those who lived “by faith”. It is often called the “Hall of Faith”. Chapter 12 goes on to encourage those who come behind the faithful who were described in the previous chapter. Verses 1-2 are for us as well. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I can promise you one thing….I do not doubt where they are now…..and I am so encouraged by the faithfulness of their lives. :o) They ran their race so well. To God be the Glory for each one of them being found faithful on the last day of their lives. They are all heroes to me of FAITHFULNESS. They died in extreme obedience to loving God with all their heart, soul and mind not having a clue that they would die worshiping the God they loved. I am sure there will be many valuable lessons to be learned from this great loss but the greatest thing I have learned so far…that God has had for me to gain from this horrendous event…has been to ask myself this question:
If I died today, would I be found faithful?
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” ~Jim Elliot