In the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sutherland Springs Baptist Church, there’s been plenty of blame and finger-pointing. There’s also been something else: People mocking those praying for the situation.
This derisive attitude toward prayer is nothing new, but it may stir up doubts as to the effectiveness of prayer or the power of God. If these thoughts are troubling you, consider the following and be encouraged:
Death is not the end
The early Christians were able to face death and torture with peace because of their unshakeable confidence in eternal life. In their minds, life was a brief journey; the real joy awaited them in heaven. To the world, death is the end; to the Christian, death is the beginning of better things.
Faith is tested most when confronted by the weightiness of life and death. As C.S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed,
“You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?”
We either have faith in God’s promises or we do not trust them at all. To the world, our faith is insanity. They draw comfort from our suffering as though it validates their lack of faith. To them, the suffering of a Christian is proof of God’s weakness and prayer’s ineffectiveness. To us, it is a reminder that this earth is not paradise and better things await us in heaven. When we remain steadfast in our suffering, it is a witness to the world of the power of Christ within us. It is in the darkness that the light of Christ has the opportunity to shine most brightly.