In April of 2007 Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech University, went on a rampage. By the time his murderous spree ended by suicide, Cho had killed 32 people and wounded 17 more. Most of those killed were shot as they sat in classes in the engineering school. Cho chained the doors shut to ensure it would be hard for his intended victims to escape. Panic broke out as students began to realize what was happening. When Cho came to one classroom, he found the door barred by the professor, 76 year old Liviu Librescu.
Librescu, a Romanian Jew who survived the Nazi Holocaust and later moved to Israel before coming to America to teach, told the students to open the windows and escape outside. He saved the lives of a number of his students before falling victim to the gunman’s bullets. His son later told of the emails he received from young people who had been in the classroom when their professor saved their lives by literally placing himself into the line of fire. In the moment of adversity, his courage rose to the occasion and he proved himself a hero.
Most of us don’t face tests that are quite that severe, but each of us faces moments when our faith and courage is put to the test. The opportunity to share the gospel with a friend or co-worker or stay silent, the temptation to take something that doesn’t belong to us or leave it—these are moments of adversity. These moments do not determine whether or not we have strength of character. Instead they reveal it. The crucible of adversity is the moment when what is in our hearts is shown to the world. Our responsibility to God is to live every day in His strength so that we do not fail the test.