Friday, April 24, 2020

The Lord Permits Evil Only to Bring Forth Greater Good

We're all at least a little worried these days...

But if we could penetrate the fullness of the mystery of our lives, we would see that everything really is "grace," that God is indeed good, all the time.

Everything in our lives unfolds according to our Father's loving plan for each one of us. If God allows something bad to happen to us, He permits it because He wants to bring a greater good out of it; He wants to lead us through these struggles to a deeper and more mature life.

In affirming this, we don't want to trivialize in any way the terrible, catastrophic events our world is passing through right now - the COVID-19 pandemic and all its direct and indirect consequences - nor any other of the tremendous pains and apparently inexplicable sufferings that people face in different times and ways in their lives.

Rather, we need to recognize that the ultimate purpose of every human life is a transcendent greatness and fulfillment that are hidden in the mystery of God's goodness.

And He is good. He loves us. When He permits us to suffer, He also gives us the strength to endure and grow through it.

God our Father loves us immensely, tenderly, far greater than we imagine, and like a true father he protects us from so many dangerous and destructive things that threaten our existence in ways we may never even know about. But He doesn't always shield us completely from things that make us suffer. He wants us to grow. Even though our ultimate happiness is His gift, He wants us to receive it in a mature way, by giving us a participation in the victory He has won for us over all His (and our) enemies.

Thus, while He may permit evil things to happen to us, He always gives us what we really need to triumph over them, ultimately. That includes the grace that enables us to ask Him for help, to recognize that we need Him and are totally dependent on Him.

We don't ultimately know ourselves, or the mystery of the whole person God wills each of us to become. He calls us to be His children, heirs to His kingdom who are destined to be like Him, to see Him as He is, to share in His everlasting glory. When bad things happen in this life on earth, God doesn't usually show us (at least, not at the time) the entire purpose of these events in our journey to our destiny. He promises us they they will bear abundant fruit, but we don't really understand (beyond the "darkness" of faith) what that transfigured fruition entails.

We have to trust Him.

Trust is a decision; it is a position of the heart in the midst of the storm. It does not depend on how we feel, and it may not make us feel any better. It usually doesn't make the bad circumstance disappear. But trust makes our hearts grow. We must trust God and never give up, even if we feel like we can only do it through gritted teeth.

Above all, we trust God because He has sent His Son into the world to accompany us on the whole way of our journey in this life, through every joy and every sorrow, to the depths of our lives and all the way to the end: Jesus Christ. We must hold onto Him. He will not leave us. He has come to stay with us.

He stays with us through all the storms of life: whether they be pandemics, unemployment, poverty, strange times with all the anxieties they bring, any physical or mental illness, loss of loved ones, pain, confusion, and - above all - the chaos we unleash upon ourselves by our own sins.

He wants to stay with us, and therefore He has taken hold of us all the way through. Even when our boat is sinking on the journey, even when the storms of life are a great deluge, even when we're soaked so much we can't remember what it's like to be dry and on solid ground, even when we're submerged beneath the churning waves, when we don't know up from down, right from left, when everything is underwater - even then, He is still holding on to us!

Trust in Jesus, and never give up.