Reflections on the Virginia Tech Tragedy of April 16, 2007

Many years later I remember exactly where I was on November 22, 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated.  No doubt everyone alive on that date remembers when and where they heard the awful news. We all probably have a list of events, both joyful and sad, which are lodged in our minds and which we will not forget. Sadly, we can now add April 16, 2007 to the list.

On this day students at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA went to their classes never expecting that their lives would quickly and cruelly come to an end. A young man had an argument with his girlfriend, and then killed her and another student. Two hours later, obviously enraged, he entered another building and began to slaughter any who happened to come across his path.  Some were killed instantly, while others narrowly missed death by seconds or inches. After 32 students and faculty were killed, and many others injured, the killer took his own life. This traumatic day will be remembered, and many will have their lives permanently impacted by the events of this day.

Certainly, our thoughts go out to those directly impacted by the horrible events of the day. We lack the words to express to parents who lost a young child in such an unsuspecting way. Unless we have experienced a similar tragedy, we just can’t feel what they feel, but nevertheless we sense to some degree their sorrow, and our hearts go out to them.

One lesson that is clear from this sad day, and this has been clearly stated by those directly involved, is that we never know when our life may come to an end. It will probably not be in such a tragic manner, but whatever the cause, life quickly ends for many totally unaware that their time in this life is about to end. It was true for President Kennedy and for many, many others before and after him. Alive one moment, and gone the next.

The knowledge of this truth ought to make us think about where we would go when we pass off this scene, whether old or young. In that split second when our earthly life ends and we enter the eternal state, where will we be? The Bible speaks of coming judgment for some, and eternal bliss for others. What will determine where we arrive? The Bible states that it will be our relationship with Jesus Christ which will be the determining factor. Not our religion, or our religious efforts, but what relationship we have with Him. Whether we know Him as our personal Savior, and not merely a historical figure that happened to change history. May every reader be encouraged to search the Scriptures, perhaps starting with the Gospel of John, to see how they can be sure that when the last moment comes, however it comes, they will pass into His presence.  

Steve Hulshizer


For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever

believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.   John 3:16