Most of you have probably already read that Cheryl Marie Beckett, who graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2000, was among the 10 medical volunteers who were shot to death last week in Afghanistan by the Taliban. She was 32 years old.
According to news reports, the medical team was traveling and had stopped to eat lunch. When they came back to the vehicle they were accosted by men with guns, who eventually executed them. They did however let the driver go after “he was shouting and reciting the holy Quran and saying ‘I am Muslim. Don’t kill me'”.
This is obviously a tragic ordeal. I am not going to comment on the tragedy itself, but I want to make a few comments about the irony of this situation. Only one man was saved from death on Friday, and Miss Beckett along with 9 others had their lives taken from them.
There is great irony in this. Things are not always as they appear. One man expresses his commitment to Islam and is “set free”. Miss Beckett, following Jesus Christ is murdered. But that is only the appearance from our limited perspective.
But the reality of the situation is this:
The man who was “set free” is, according to John 3:18, condemned to death. John 3:18 says “whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in he name of the only Son of God.” Unless he looks to the true Savior, he is only living out the rest of his death sentence.
On Friday, after lunch, Miss Beckett (after enduring what must have been a horrifying situation) was eternally set free from her earthly tent. For her, Friday evening was not spent at a base camp in Afghanistan. It was spent with the King of Kings, where every tear is wiped away. It was spent living in the actual presence of the Savior who said “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.” She is enjoying the reward of her Father in Heaven. It seems reasonable to think that she wasn’t expecting this to happen to her. But she probably did know the words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 10:
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
So the one set free is condemned to death (in both body and soul), and the one whose body is killed, is set free and LIVES with a capital L!
Lord, help us to trust you. The fear of man is so ingrained within us. We can’t see behind the curtain right now. Help us to be able to see things as they really are, not as they appear to be.