Last August, an Australian baseball player named Christopher Lane was gunned down by two teenagers in Duncan, Oklahoma. Just 22, he was a senior at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. Lane was jogging during a visit with his girlfriend’s family in Duncan when he was murdered. The teen boys, who decided to kill someone to relieve boredom, were charged as adults for first-degree murder; two others were charged as accomplices. Online contributions of $171,000 ($15,000 requested) helped Lane’s parents travel to the U.S. to bring their son’s body back to Melbourne for burial. They will use the extra money to create the Christopher Lane Foundation.
Calling Lane’s death “another example of murder mayhem on Main Street,” Australia’s former deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer asked citizens to avoid vacationing in America (CNN). He also said that people “are fifteen times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than in Australia per capita per million people” (NBC). We live in a dangerous world.
Lane’s tragic death at the hands of people seeking to relieve boredom grieves me. The spirit of Satan entered their willing hearts and guided their ready hands. I am also grieved at the damage these young men did to good relations between the U.S. and Australia. When a nation tells its citizens, “Don’t go there,” America is in trouble. I do not know what to say to Lane’s parents, Tim Fishcher, or the citizens of Australia. I do not know how to relieve their pain or restore their faith in the U.S. as a place to vacation and earn a degree. I can only say that I am sorry.
“I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify. Some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth: from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” – Matthew 23:34-35
“Others had trial of mocking, scourgings, chains, and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawn in two, tempted, and slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy.” – Hebrews 11:36-38
Ancient Israel was also a dangerous place. She killed the prophets and stoned those whom God sent her (Matthew 23:37). Abel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, and other righteous people died at the hands of ungodly sinners. Jesus Christ was not spared either. He came into this world to save it, but his own people did not receive him (John 1:11). After an illegal trial, Pharisees gave Jesus to the Romans to be executed for blasphemy (18:31, 19:7). As the wicked vinedressers did not respect the landowner’s son, neither did Israel respect the Son of God (Matthew 21:37-39).
After Jesus’ ascension, the Pharisees stoned Stephen (Acts 7:58-60). King Herod killed James with a sword (12:2). Peter and Paul were crucified. Other saints were killed by hungry lions. William Tyndale was burned at the stake during the Protestant Reformation. Over 70 million Christians have died for their faith in the past 2000 years, 45 million in the 20th century (Cesnur). Thousands more have been beheaded by fanatical Muslims since June. We live in a dangerous world.
After the death of his Son, one would expect God to tell his servants, “Don’t go there.” Instead, he sent them around the world to tell people about Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). God still sends his servants, regardless of the consequences.
Evil always tries to destroy good, but good can overcome evil through Christ (Romans 13:21). God has the final word. He will avenge Christopher Lane, just as he will avenge his servants who die for righteousness. Lane will receive justice for his murder, either in this life or in the next. This is small comfort to a grieving family, university, and nation, but it is divine comfort if they will take it. Main Street USA is unsafe. However, not everyone in the U.S. acts like these ungodly young men. I pray that, as a nation, we try to restore Australia’s faith in America.