4. Saving My Life, Yet Losing It

This is based on a true story, which took place in 1977. I chose to make a cover of it because of how it embodies what Jesus said in Matthew 16:25. I changed the names and all, but it’s a real-life incident that took place in China…

It was morning. Bernard opened his eyes and sat up in his prison bed. The first thing that came to his mind was a thought of gleefulness.

He was going to be freed from this prison.

But first, he had to do something. Something which would be extremely hard to carry out, but worth it.

Kill two young girls he had brought up in the Christian faith.

He and these two girls, Lawrencia and Celestina, had been arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to death for their faith in Christ. Throughout their short trial, they had been mercilessly mocked and insulted by the authorities for choosing to believe in an “unseen, imaginary entity”. Nevertheless, the three stood firm in their faith.

Until a few of the men in authority came to Bernard with an offer he somehow considered too good to refuse.

They told him that if he would willingly shoot the girls, he would become a free man once more.

It had been a bit of a mental struggle, but eventually he accepted their offer. Now the time had come for him to get it over with.

In the past few days, he had hardened his heart to any form of regret or sympathy. All he wanted was freedom from all the torturous treatment he was getting.

An hour passed, and after getting himself ready, he was led out by the soldiers into the yard where the execution was to take place.

Lawrencia and Celestina were already there, having been made to stand against the wall. As they stood there, waiting for their departure from earth, Bernard observed the expression on their faces. His cellmate had been right; he had seen them as they were led to the yard and remarked that their faces were “pale, but beautiful beyond belief; infinitely sad but sweet.”

Indeed, their faces spoke of an aura of innocence and sweetness around them. Bernard knew it so well. Since the day he led them to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, that radiance surrounded them so strongly, anyone could see they were no ordinary girls.

But that was the last thing on his mind. My freedom from this place beckons. Just two shots, and I’ll be out of this place!

One of the soldiers handed him a pistol. “Finish them!” the burly man ordered him.

He duly took the gun and moved toward the girls, a cold, hard look in his eyes.

As he did, the girls whispered to each other. After about a minute of doing so, they turned to face Bernard. With tears running down her face, Celestina stepped forward a bit and spoke.

“Pastor Bernard, before you kill us, we just want to let you know that we are eternally grateful to you for leading us to the narrow gate. You baptized us, taught us the Word of God and helped mould us into the girls we are. Please, as you kill us, please remember that you once told us that Christians aren’t perfect; they’re always liable to fall into sin, but the key is not to fall into despair like Judas, but repent like Peter. As you do this, we pray you follow Peter’s example afterwards.

“Worry not, Pastor Bernard. As we depart to be with our Beautiful Saviour, we hold absolutely nothing against you. No feeling of anger against this slight blip. Lawrie and I will forever remember you for telling us of Jesus Christ the Messiah and His undying love for us. God bless you.”

With all that said, she stepped back and embraced her friend tightly, waiting to death to come upon them.

The sight of those two locked in a tight hug was heart-rending. Two beautiful young girls with an otherworldly radiance about them, preparing for death. It was an angelic view that would bring anyone to tears.

Not Bernard though.

He had turned his heart away from compassion and love. The almost holy sight of these two girls didn’t move him one bit. All that mattered to him at that moment was his own feelings, his immediate gratification by no longer being beaten and insulted for being a follower of Christ.

He raised the pistol, and with direct aim, pulled the trigger twice.

Lawrencia and Celestina dropped to the ground instantly, the breath of life departed from their bodies.

OK, it’s been done. That was quick and easy. Now it’s time to be free. Wooo! I can’t wait to finally get out of this horrible place. The insults are just so degrading-

“GRAB HIM!!!”

Before he could finish his thoughts, two strong soldiers descended upon him and grabbed him, roughly dragging him to the wall.

He struggled and yelled to them, “What’s going on? What are you doing? Haven’t I killed the girls?”

They ignored him. Slamming him against the wall, they held each hand and had him stretched. Another soldier came forward with a rifle, ready to shoot.

Bernard’s eyes widened in terror as he saw the rifle pointed straight at him. “No! Stop!” he screamed frantically. “I killed the girls! This wasn’t part of the plan! You said you’d free me if I shot them! Stop!”

“Foolish man!” the soldiers holding him sneered. The one holding the rifle had it pointed at his forehead.

“No! This can’t be! NO! NOOOOOO – “

The five bullets that came out of the rifle silenced him. Forever.

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