“I guess if we’re going to have faith, you can’t just have it when the miracles happen. You have to have it when they don’t.”
– Layla, Supernatural
Season 1, Episode 12, “Faith”
Bad things happen. That’s part of life. And life isn’t fair.
We can’t just escape from pain, but it’s easy to start thinking about ways to do exactly that. We want a quick way out, and we mistakenly think that’s all a miracle is, so we want a miracle. Even more, we try to justify this miracle, both when it comes to ourselves, and especially when it comes to the people we love. Even after thousands of years of experience, we are still prone to think that being “good enough” should somehow make someone exempt from suffering.
Sometimes miracles happen. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they do, but it’s not what we had in mind, so we don’t recognize it.
In either of the latter cases, people often angry, because they’re still in pain, and “lose their faith.” It’s natural, sometimes even healthy, to be angry, because we hurt. What’s not healthy is to lose faith because something bad has happened to you. At best, it ignores the fact that bad thing happen to everyone, so why should you be so special? At worst, it allows your pain to poison you, consume you, define you.
If faith were about making everything rosy and easy and convenient for you, then what good would it do us? I mean, take weight training, for instance. It’s hard work, and you’re often sore afterward, right? He who stops training after one day, because his muscles hurt, does not build up muscle. A crude analogy, I know, and it probably breaks apart the further your take it, but the point is this: how much could you trust a weight trainer who told you that you could get a six-pack by sitting on the couch eating burritos all day? You go, you work, you get stronger, little by little, because you trust and rely on your trainer.
Same thing with faith: it’s not meant to make things easy, it’s meant to get you through the hard times, because you have something to trust and rely on during and after those times.
And there’s a flip-side to this coin. I’ve seen people “turn to faith” when something bad happens… but then they drop it by the wayside when things are all better again, just like they had before the crisis. That’s kind of like listening to your trainer for a week or a month, and then ignoring them for the rest of the year.
So, if I were to add anything to this quote, it would be this:
If we’re going to have faith, we can’t just have it at one time or another. We need to always have it, in good times and bad, equally.