Stephen Pitcairn was supposed to be a successful doctor, one who was likely to live to cure cancer and die of old age. But tragically in late July of last year, both of these possibilities were made impossible as he became a victim of murder on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland by a pair of drug abusers. His mother heard the entire incident happen over the phone when Stephen was attacked during a call he made to his mother while returning to his residence in Baltimore, after his trip to New York with his sisters, Emily and Elise. His mother, Gwen recalls the pain she felt at her son’s death. “I trusted God,” she says, “and I thought he was looking out for Stephen.”
There is no doubt that God had his eye on Stephen, the Florida native who graduated from Kalamazoo College in Michigan. He worked in the Institute for Cell Engineering within the John Hopkins School of Medicine. Stephen was bright from youth, diagnosed with ADHD as a kid. His mind moved faster than others could keep up with. As a child, he was said to always be seen taking things apart, including telescopes and grew obsessive over topics that interested him. He was very close to family and they were his everything until a trip to the Dominican Republic where he told his mother he met God on the beach. His mother described him as returning litterally glowing, engulfed with God’s protective light and grace.
But did God not at least attempt to protect him that night? According to his mother, as he walked home on the night of the mudrer, he had called her saying he felt safer when he was talking to her but it was a false sense of security. God who is everywhere at once could protect Stephen better than his mother who was in one place a thousand miles away. The fact that he felt unsafe was most likely God’s way of warning him that he was in a troubled area. Most of those who live around Baltimore know how dangerous it is to walk the streets as late as 11 pm when Stephen was walking, but Stepehen had only recently moved there to work at John Hopkins. Experience was not on his side.
When we feel unsafe and hurt, we often call upon family. But our family can not save us all the time. God ask us to put our trust in him so that he may protect us. (Ps. 18:30; Nah 1:7) God knows the importance of family to us. He asks us to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12) and to follow their teachings (Proverbs 22:6). But at the same time we must heed warnings from the Lord. The moment we feel unsafe in an area, we should look toward the Lord for salvation and guidance.
We must also think about the murderers, John Wagner and Lavela Merritt, as well. As shocking as it may seem to be to think about caring for those who killed such a promising individual, we must remember Jesus was around sinners more often than priests. These criminals being repeated offenders and drug abusers are in much need of God’s grace. Those who abuse drugs have usually been very hurt throughout life. The drugs they use promise to alleviate the pain only to show that they never planned to fulfil its sinful promises. These two do not deserve the grace of God but that’s what makes grace grace. A gift undeserved given out of love (Ephesians 2:4-2:8).
If you are looking for the second part of the Examination of the Antichrist, please continue to look out for it later in the week.