Courtney’s parents loved music and encouraged the talent they perceived in their daughter. They bought a piano and supported her involvement in the children’s choir at their church. But Courtney possessed more than an interest in music. She also thirsted to know more about God.
Her formative years immersed in God and music did not exempt her from the arrogance of youth. Teenage Courtney sang to the Lord in church on Sunday, and followed her own desires the rest of the week. Her walk on the wild side hit a speed bump when a cousin died in her late twenties. The realization of life’s brevity alarmed Courtney. The pain of dealing with an abusive boyfriend, and the loss of her cousin sent her into a depression.
Then a school friend challenged her relationship with God. “You are hurting and broken because you don’t know Jesus,” he said. She did not believe him. Her good works, singing in the Church choir, and helping her mother teach catechism, had convinced Courtney that she knew Jesus.
Later, Rachelle, a high school friend, invited Courtney to join her in starting a Christian club at their school. One day, perceiving the emptiness in Courtney’s life, Rachelle confronted her with the truth. “You don’t know the Lord. You know about him, but you don’t know his love.” Once again, Courtney found herself justifying her Christianity based on works, but that wall began to crack.
Determined to lead Courtney into a deeper relationship with God, Rachelle invited her to a play based on the April 1999 shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The production followed the lives of multiple students emphasizing how quickly life can change and the need for salvation.
Several characters in the play shook Courtney’s belief that the friends who challenged her relationship with God were wrong. Liz, the Christian character in the play spent time alone with God reading her Bible and worshiping. Courtney reflected on her own life. The only time she spent with God was Sunday morning. Her life resembled the character named Brian. He was good, witty, and fun. He worked at the movie theater and had awesome friends, but he did not know the Lord.
Both Liz and Brian are killed in a school shooting and meet their maker. Liz’s entrance into heaven seemed so beautiful to Courtney. She could feel the presence of God. Then the Lord said to Brian, “You did not know me. I gave you opportunities to know me. I sent people to talk to you but you would not listen. Depart from me. I never knew you.” Courtney saw herself in Brian’s life. In that moment, she felt like God was asking her for her final answer.
In the next scene a drug addict gave his life to the Lord with his dying breath. The addict in the play lacked a list of good deeds to gain entrance into heaven, yet Jesus accepted him. That scene shattered her belief that doing good things would give one entrance to heaven. Courtney ran to the altar where she felt a sense of destiny as she encountered God in an intimate way.
Courtney returned to her seat with an apology. “You were right, Rachelle. God showed me the white washed grave I had become. It was like God had prepared me all of my life for this moment in time.”