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As Americans all over the country continue to react to the Texas school shooting on Tuesday — in which an apparent lone gunman took the lives of at least 19 elementary school children and two teachers — psychologists, faith leaders and others are sharing keen reminders about the importance of faith in God and a higher purpose in life.
In response to Tuesday’s tragedy, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, in part, in a statement, “Texans across the state are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime and for the community of Uvalde.”
He also said, “Cecilia and I mourn this horrific loss [and] urge all Texans to come together to show our unwavering support to all who are suffering.”
The town of Uvalde, Texas, is about 85 miles west of San Antonio.
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Some families have been sharing desperate pleas online for help in finding their missing children.
Other families, meanwhile, are already in mourning for loved ones killed in the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a seven-square-mile community.
Here are the latest thoughts and comments from a variety of concerned professionals about the need for faith today.
Must ‘bring the light of the gospel to a dark world’
Kathy Koch, an education psychologist in Fort Worth, Texas, and a faculty member with Summit Ministries (Summit.org), told Fox News Digital, “There is no adjective to put in front of ‘sad’ that is adequate to express what we are feeling in our hearts” right now.
“The number of dead shocks us — but one death would be too much.”
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She added, “Every one of the lives was a life created by our intentional God, on purpose, with purpose.”
“We honor our God and those who have died by living our lives in a purposeful manner — comforting those who are grieving, helping those who are hurting and bringing the light of the gospel to a dark and evil world.”
That is how we should ‘not be overcome by evil — but overcome evil with good’ (Rom. 12:21),” she said.
‘Have to come together to consider how we might change’
Dr. James Spencer, president of the D. L. Moody Center in Northfield, Massachusetts, told Fox News Digital on Tuesday evening, “I cannot imagine the pain, rage and sadness I would feel if my kids were taken from me. I can only express my deepest sympathy for the families who lost their children in the Uvalde, Texas, shooting.”
“We need a renewed sense of cooperation and a commitment to order.”
He added, “My hope is that God’s people will visit these families during this time of affliction and provide the comfort, hope and peace that only Christ can offer.”
Further, he said, “While it’s easy to turn our outrage toward matters of policy and to call for swift, immediate action, I would humbly suggest that we take time to mourn with these families rather than politicizing their pain.”
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“Protecting children from this sort of violence deserves more than polarizing political maneuvers,” Spencer added. “We need a renewed sense of cooperation and a commitment to order than our political leaders on either side of the aisle seem willing or able to provide.”
“As citizens of the United States and, more importantly, as human beings,” he also said, “we have to come together to consider how we might change and sacrifice to make the sort of violence we have witnessed in Uvalde and elsewhere less likely.”
‘May God help, comfort and sustain’ the ‘devastated families … as only he can’
In a message shared on his Facebook page late yesterday and shared with Fox News Digital as well on Wednesday, Rev. Franklin Graham, leader of Samaritan’s Purse and of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said, “Such a heartbreaking tragedy … in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, today.”
“Many were also injured by the 18-year-old shooter who is also now deceased …”
He added, “Join me in praying for these devastated families and their community.”
He said, “May God help, comfort and sustain them as only He can.”
‘Majority of young men’ in these tragic cases ‘do not have an active father at home’
Mark Hancock, CEO of Trail Life USA — a character-development, faith-focused organization headquartered in Belton, South Carolina — told Fox News Digital on Wednesday morning via an email, “We mourn with the communities in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, that have suffered from recent acts of pure evil.”
The solution, said Hancock, “for this increasing violence isn’t gun control and all the other things our world is debating.”
Rather, it’s “fathers and ‘father-likes’ who step up and find ways to provide moral, strong and clear leadership” for young people today.
“Courageous men of faith [need to] stand in the gap to love, serve and mentor a generation of hurting boys” in America.
Hancock added, “At the heart of the problem is the fact that the majority of the young men that were involved [in shooting incidents such as the one in Uvalde, Texas] do not have an active father at home. It points to something that’s relatively recent in our society: a national boy crisis.”
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“We are praying that God will be near in this time of pain and loss, that the church will rise up, and that amid tragedy, courageous men of faith will stand in the gap to love, serve and mentor a generation of hurting boys struggling to understand what it means to be a godly man,” added Hancock of Trail Life USA.
‘Bottom line is that all of us need God’
“It’s just truly important to remember that they’re with the Lord,” said Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California and Hawaii, speaking to Shannon Bream on “Fox News @ Night” about the children and teachers killed on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas, by the apparent lone gunman.
“The depth of your sorrow is an indication of the dept of your love,” Pastor Laurie also said, noting that too many people keep their emotions inside and bottled up.
“You need to let it out and cry out to God,” he said.
FAITH LEADERS REACT TO TEXAS SCHOOL SHOOTING: ‘ACT OF PURE EVIL’
He also said, “Christianity is not a crutch … The bottom line is that all of us need God.”
We need “a spiritual awakening,” Pastor Laurie said.
“We need to turn back to God again.”
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As someone who himself lost a son years ago and experienced the tragedy of deep and personal loss, he also advised everyone to “thank God for your families, your own children — and be thankful that they’re with you.”
Stephen Sorace of Fox News Digital contributed reporting to this article.
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