Keep the Faith Even When It’s Tested

Carolina Rodriguez, Staff Writer

On Nov. 5, a masked man dressed in black walked into the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He opened fire and took the lives of 10 women, eight children, and seven men. The carnage was caught on camera.

Mass shootings, regardless of where or when they take place, are disturbing, senseless acts of violence.

When these tragedies occur, we cling onto beliefs that are supposed to shed light on hope in situations that, otherwise, seem hopeless.

But what does one do when something like this happens in the very place that so many go to to seek refuge, comfort and salvation?

When 26 people walk into a church on a Sunday with their husbands, wives and children and end up losing their lives in the middle of a sermon that preaches about eternal life – and about how God is always with us – it provides what might be the ultimate test of faith.

Those who aren’t directly affected by tragedies such as this one experience similar tests as well.

Our faith is gravely tested when we wholeheartedly believe in someone or something and they disappoint us. It is tested when we, or someone close to us, get sick. It is tested when we experience failure, heartbreak or helplessness.

There are often no explanations for why bad things happen.

In these situations, it seems almost blindly optimistic to say that everything happens for a reason and that there is a specific purpose for every single experience, even the ones that are awful.

But by the same token, there is no explanation for the way that God or the universe — or whatever being it is that an individual lends their faith to — acts in our lives.

As human beings, we cannot make sense of things that are inherently senseless to us.

We can’t justify a mass murder. We can’t justify a loss. We can’t justify a heartbreak.

The only thing we can do is have faith in the fact that, even though there are things we can’t understand or even accept, there is someone or something out there that does.

And there is a purpose in every action — one that is often much bigger than all of us put together as a whole.

In the same way that tragic things lack a logical explanation, incredible ones do as well: Like those enveloped in strength, grace, and love.