Do you think that superﬁcial optimism and unbounded encouragement are counter-productive? Well-intentioned but misguided friends often increase the pain they originally came to erase. Much too often someone mouths much too easily: “Well, it’s God’s will” or “Time heals everything.” How is one to deal with the queson, “Will everything turn out all right?”
We Catholics ought to be the genuine realists in this world. Often, we are not. We are victimized, it seems, by that shallow optimism which is portrayed in the media and which wants everything to be all right. So, we simply act as if it is.
But as we know, not all things are good. Evil does exist. Evil cannot be rationalized away. It cannot be softened by sentimentality. The brokenness of many lives is real. Painfully real!
The Bible is a dramatic revelation of God’s eﬀorts to redeem His world. Language falters in our eﬀort to measure what God has done. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus remains the most obvious evidence that God is willing to get mixed up in our need.
He is the God who wants to work with the tangled web we have woven. And He wants to work within all things in our lives – even the evil systems which we, at times, initiate and in which we still participate.
However, God’s eﬀectiveness is conditioned by our response to Him. We can be sure that all things work together according to His purpose. God initiates therapeutic action in the things in our lives by calling us to Himself. God’s choice is to invite us to Him; to oﬀer His help. He cannot be eﬀective, however, in those lives which disregard His invitation.
Lifeguards ﬁnd it very diﬃcult to save the swimmer who does not desire to be rescued. Just as physicians experience diﬃculty in healing those who don’t want health. Similarly, God ﬁnds it hard to show us something if our heads are turned away from Him. How can God untangle the web we have woven if we do not turn to Him and ask for His help?
A waitress discovered that her purse had been stolen. She explained to her pastor the bitterness which overcame her. That was her rent money. And she was even more incensed because she was certain of the thief’s identity.
Her pastor oﬀered both empathy and money. Beyond this, he suggested that they pray about the bitterness which had infected her spirit. As they parted, he promised to pray that God would work within the experience for her good.
Some time later she reported a miracle! No, the money had not been returned. Something beer than that. While praying about her problem, she was drawn nearer to God. Forgotten chapters of her personal devotion to God over the years were reopened again. Happily, she reported to her pastor, “I am more at ease with my life that I have been in years.”
“But what about the money for your rent,” asked her pastor? “Oh, that’s all right too,” she said. “The restaurant gave me extra work. I didn’t mind. And the rent was paid.” “One more question,” said the pastor. “Would you have exchanged your experience for the money? Do you wish it never happened?”
“No,” she replied quickly. “God was working with me all the me. I would never have known it if we had not prayed. That’s one problem I am really grateful for. It brought me back to God.”
What God starts, He will always ﬁnish. God will get into all things in our lives and work for the good of those who love Him and invite Him into their lives and welcome His guidance. This is indeed Good News!