I had the weirdest Sunday morning some time ago. A man most likely in his 20’s sat two seats away from me in church dressed in long black pants, a black baggy jacket even though it was 80-plus degrees outside, and he “wore” a glum expression with hardened eyes. In fact, his eyes seemed dead. When I greeted him during greeting time, he barely raised his hand to shake mine and there was no expression on his face. I honestly began to wonder if he was a serial killer. I honestly thought, Is a gun in his pocket or a rifle hid under his clothing?

My husband, a retired cop, was sitting next to me on the other side and I really wondered if I should pass a note to him telling him of my suspicions. But I decided to be subtly aware of the young man and see what happened. I did sneak a peak during one of the prayers and he wasn’t closing his eyes. And he saw me look over. Would that seem bad to him?

As the service went along, I admit I was distracted. I don’t write novels but this sure seemed like it had the plot of one. I began to think what I would do if he did pull out a gun. And I contemplated what I would do if he asked the same thing the killer did of Rachel Scott at the Columbine killings: “Do you still believe in God?” 

The thought of it was very strange, of course, but I can say at least in that moment, that I could say “Yes.” Who knows what shock would do to my mind in that traumatic moment, but I believe God would supply the strength for whatever He desired. 

These are strange thoughts, I know. But I also wonder if Christians even in America may face situations like that in the future–even when we face–not a serial killer–but people with authority. 

Only God’s strength could help us in those moments. Our own motivations would be forced to fail. And I wonder in those few moments whether we won’t welcome being in heaven soon. 

Obviously, nothing happened. As we walked toward the door after the service, the young man stood between the chairs and the door, just standing still, looking around–the same dead look on his face. Then he moved toward the door. He stopped just outside the door and stood there, almost blocking the exit. I said to him, “Welcome again. Thanks for coming. I hope you’ll come back next week.” 

His downcast appearance did not change and he mumbled, “I don’t know.” I haven’t seen him since.

“Lord, you know that man. You know everything about that man. I pray that your Spirit will work in that man’s heart. Save him, Father God, and set him free from whatever is at the source of his…whatever it is. You know. You love him. Draw him to yourself. In Jesus’ powerful Name. Amen.”