On April 20, 1999, Columbine High School was devastated by a shooting that claimed the lives of 12 students and a teacher, leaving dozens injured and a nation shaken. That day, Rachel Scott—a 17-year-old girl known for her love for Jesus—was asked by two classmates at gun point, “Do you believe in God?” She boldly declared, “You know I do,” and was fatally shot and killed that day. Little did she know that the testimony of her death would impact millions around the world!
Even more amazing than Rachel’s death was the testimony of her life. Rachel had a consuming passion for Jesus. She would write things to God in her journal about how she longed for His presence and craved His Holy Spirit! It reminds me of the desperate heart cry of the psalmist for the presence of God:
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42:1-2 NIV).
How lovely is Your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God…. Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere (Psalm 84:1-2, 10).
Not only did she long for God’s presence, but she also longed to see others touched by the presence of God. In one journal entry, she wrote:
I want heads to turn in the halls when I walk by. I want them to stare at me, watching and wanting the light you have put in me…. I want you to use me to reach the unreached. I have such a desire and a passion to serve…. I want to know and serve you now. I want heads to turn now. I want faith like a child now…. I am crying out to you, Father, asking for your Spirit now.
Rachel had a love for others that was incredible. So great was the love filling her that she would intentionally look for the outcasts and the lonely, to become their friend. Knowing how hard it was for new students to fit in, she would also look to befriend those who were new at her school.
One young man in particular was greatly impacted by the love Rachel carried for the outcasts at her school. He was often picked on by other students because of a disability which resulted in slowness of speech and appearance. While others looked for him to push him around, Rachel made it a point to find him every day to share a few words of encouragement.
In their last interaction, Rachel placed her arm around him and expressed wanting to hear all about his family over lunch sometime. Tragically, that day would never come, as only hours later, the rest of the world would be watching the Columbine shooting unfold on the news. In tears he shared with Rachel’s father, “Mr. Scott, nobody has ever been as kind to me as your daughter was. I really miss her.”
Rachel’s mother shares a similar story:
I have heard testimony again and again about kids she witnessed to, outcasts she talked to, needy friends who would call her late at night and talk to her for hours on the phone, and lonely people she loved and reached out to.
Through the testimony of her life, many have come to know Jesus. Not only that, her story has touched a generation around the world, as thousands of young people responded to the call to pick up the bloody torch that was dropped by Rachel that day.
God is looking for those, like Rachel, who will lay down their lives to love the unlovable and reach the unreachable—who have a passion to see a generation encounter the love of Jesus. Those who desire to be so filled with the light of God that people have to stop and ask, “What is it that you have? I don’t know what it is, but I want it!”
Excerpt from A Vision of Revival for College Campuses.
Chris Ngai has seen an extraordinary work of God take place at Arizona State University over the last 11 years through a united movement known as LoveASU.