Reaping Life from Death
"Truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:24 NASB)
Since the tragic shooting in Littleton, Colo., God appears to be using the death of Cassie Bernall to bear fruit in high schools across the land.
On April 20, Cassie sat in the library of Columbine High School when a fellow student pointed a gun to her head and asked, "Do you believe in God?" When she responded, "Yes, I believe in God," the gunman pulled the trigger, killing her instantly.
Since that day in Littleton, teens everywhere have been spurred on in their faith by Cassie's act of martyrdom. Friend, Erika Dendorfer, said in a National Public Radio interview, "I'm sad that she had to go in the way that she did with two killers, but I'm happy that she went dying for Christ." Another friend told NPR, "I think if there's one way to die, a good way of doing it is dying for your faith. I think she's awesome." But Cassie's influence extends farther than her circle of friends at Columbine High School.
According to the May 31 issue of Time magazine, Keith Malcom, coordinator of several Christian youth groups in Wichita, Kan., reports that dozens of teens have volunteered to be missionaries in their schools as a result of Cassie's death. The June 1 issue of USA Today reported, "Yes, I believe in God" rallies were to be held in twenty-three different states this summer. Some of Bernall's high school classmates were to be among the speakers at the rallies encouraging teenagers to live boldly for Christ.
The USA Today article also reported more than 2,500 teenagers at a rally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., declared in unison, "Yes, I believe!" Josh Weidmann, a student at the rally, said, "It's not so much what Cassie said. It's what are we going to say when we're asked the question." The Time article said sixth-grader Susan Teran proclaimed, "If there was a shooter in my school, I'd volunteer to sacrifice my life. I'd say, 'Don't shoot my friends; shoot me,' because I know where I'll go when I die." According to one pastor in the Littleton area, an entire girls soccer team accepted Christ after hearing testimony from one student.
As revival spreads, various sources report hundreds of people have been saved in the aftermath of Littleton. Jerry Drace, president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, told of addressing a local high school, highlighting the faith of Cassie Bernall and Rachael Scott, another Columbine student slain for her faith. More than 100 students responded to an invitation to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
On campuses that Cassie never visited, the story of her life and death continues to bring students to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. According to Time, in Carrollton, Texas, Kevin Bieri, 14, reported excitedly, "My unsaved friends keep asking why Cassie said 'yes.' Sometimes if a lot of them are interested, I will get a Bible and walk them through Scripture to help them understand."
A few days before her death, Cassie penned these words, unaware of what awaited her.
"Now I have given up on everything else – I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ and to experience the mighty power that brought Him back to life again, and to find out what it means to suffer and to die with Him. So, whatever it takes I will be one who lives in the fresh newness of life of those who are alive from the dead."