Billy Graham's daughter and evangelist Anne Graham Lotz has said that while the 26 worshippers killed at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas "were ushered into Heaven," gunmen Devin Kelley received a far different fate.
The 69-year-old Lotz weighed in on the tragedy in a recent Facebook post, beginning with John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
"Knowing the faithfulness of Baptist pastors in small churches, especially in Texas, I am confident that the 26 people killed in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs had heard the Gospel message many times," she said. "I have no doubt that they had established a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Which, of course, is the main reason they were in church Sunday morning, November 5, 2017."
The 26 killed and dozens injured had "gathered to worship Him, pray, and learn more about Him," Lotz said.
"Therefore, I'm also confident that the moment they were shot, they were ushered into Heaven with angels applauding, the Father smiling, Jesus embracing! They had come home!" she said.
However, the gunman received a far different fate, Lotz warned.
"A few moments later, another man stepped into eternity, but not into Heaven," she said. "He entered a place of eternal darkness, torment, loneliness, terror, pain, never to see God's face. While I'm not the Judge, all indicators are that Devin Kelley went to hell."
Lotz then posed a question to her readers: "When the time comes for you to step into eternity, where will you be?"
"The Bible clearly states that there are only two eternal destinations: heaven or hell," she said. "And it's your decision today about Jesus that determines where you will be tomorrow. Think about it. Don't put off making the decision. One of the tragic lessons from Sutherland Springs is that you and I never know the moment we are going to step into eternity. So get ready now. Place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Then you can look forward to going Home!"
In an earlier blog post, Lotz shared her thoughts on why God allowed such a horrific tragedy to take place.
"Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was sick," Lotz said. "Implied was a desperate plea for help. But Jesus stayed where He was for four days. And Lazarus died."
"When Jesus did show up, Mary and Martha responded like many I have read on social media following the Texas massacre: Why didn't You come when we asked? If prayer worked, Lazarus wouldn't be dead. You're late!" Lotz added. "Although I've paraphrased what they actually said, that was their meaning."
Jesus responded to Lazarus' sister, Martha, by stating that "one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die."
Jesus' response in John 11: 25 provides the world with "a radical perspective," Lotz said.
"And it's this. Life is about more than temporary safety, health, happiness, prosperity. It's about a relationship with Him that transcends those things. He never, ever has promised to protect us from suffering, pain, and death," Lotz contended. "But He has promised to be with us and bring us through...when we place our faith in Him."
"Standing at Lazarus' tomb, Jesus challenged Martha, Do you believe this? Martha affirmed, 'Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,'" she continued. "Then Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead."
Lotz concluded by pointing to the "simple answer" to her questions of "why, God?"
"The simple answer to my why question is this: Trust Jesus when I don't understand. His ways are not my ways. He is accomplishing a greater purpose," she stressed. "I just have to trust His heart of love to do what's best. Trust Him."