The nation was shocked by the Arizona shooting. The darkness of human madness is incomprehensible. Yet, in the midst of such darkness the light is often reflected because human beings are created in the image of God. Dorwin Stoddard, a victim of the shooting, is one such story. You may have heard his name in the news, but you may not have heard that he was a member of the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ. He and his wife, Mavy, were involved in their benevolence ministry.
When the shooting began, Dorwin threw himself into the line of fire to protect his wife. Although wounded, Mavy is recovering and was released from the hospital. Dorwin was fatally wounded.
You can’t hear such a story and not be moved. How great a sacrifice! How great a love! And in the background I hear the echo of scriptures.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7–8, ESV
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13, ESV
I have sat across the desk from couples preparing for marriage and read portions of Ephesians 5: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25, ESV). I have asked those potential husbands, “What kind of love did Christ have?” It is difficult to coax the words out of them, but the answer is sacrificial. It should not be surprising that a man who attempted to live a Christlike life died a Christlike death. Greater love has no one but to lay down his life for another.
But if you are moved by this man’s love and sacrifice, remember something. You are loved in the same way. Christ died so that you might live. How great a love! How great a sacrifice!
Our condolences go to the victims of this shooting and their families. Whenever there is darkness, a need exists for people to reflect the light. God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. Those who have come to know the sacrifice and love of Jesus can be light bearers in the midst of darkness.