The other great obstacle to abandoning oneself to Divine providence is the presence of suffering, in our own lives as in the world around us.
Even for those who abandon themselves to Him, God permits suffering; He leaves them wanting of certain things, in a manner sometimes painful.
Think of the poverty in which the family of young Bernadette of Lourdes lived. Isn’t this a contradiction of the words of the Gospel?
No, because the Lord can leave us wanting relative to certain things (sometimes judged indispensable in the eyes of the world), but He never leaves us deprived of what is essential: His presence,His peace and all that is necessary for the complete fulfillment of our lives, according to His plans for us.
If He permits suffering, then it is our strength to believe, as Therese of Lisieux says, that “God does not permit unnecessary suffering.”
In the domain of our personal lives, as in that of the history of the world, we must be convinced, if we want to go to the limits of our Christian faith, that God is sufficiently good and powerful to use whatever evil there may be, as well as any suffering however absurd and unnecessary it may appear to be, in our favor.
We cannot have any mathematical or philosophical certitude of this; it can only be an act of faith. But it is precisely to this act of faith that we are invited by the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus, understood and received as the definitive victory of God over evil.
Evil is a mystery, a scandal and it will always be so. It is necessary to do what one can to eliminate it, to relieve suffering, but it always remains present in our personal lives, as well as in the world.
Its place in the economy of redemption reveals the wisdom of God, which is not the wisdom of man; it always retains something incomprehensible. …. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8–9).
At certain moments in life, a Christian is necessarily invited to believe in the contradiction of appearances and to hope against all hope (Romans 4:18). There are inevitably circumstances where we cannot understand the why of God’s activity because it is no longer the wisdom of man, a wisdom within our capacity to understand and explain by human intelligence.
Rather it is Divine Wisdom, mysterious and incomprehensible, that thus intervenes. And happily we cannot always understand! Otherwise, how would it be possible to allow the wisdom of God to freely work according to His designs?
Where would there be room for confidence? It is true that for many things we would not act as God would act! We would not have chosen the folly of the cross as a means of redemption!
But fortunately it is the wisdom of God and not ours that rules all things, because it is infinitely more powerful and more loving and, above all, more merciful than ours.
While the wisdom of God is incomprehensible in its ways, in this sometimes baffling manner in which it acts in us, then let us say that the wisdom of God will also be incomprehensible in those things that it prepares for those who put their hope in it.
For that which it prepares surpasses infinitely in glory and beauty that which we can imagine or conceive: what eye has not seen nor ear heard, what the human heart has not conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through his Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9).
The wisdom of man can only produce works on a human level. Only the wisdom of God can realize things divine, and it is to divine heights that it destines us.
This is consequently what must be our strength when faced with the question of evil: not a philosophical response, but the confidence of a child in God, in His love and in His wisdom.
The certitude that now we know that God works in every way for the good of those who love Him and are called in accordance with His plan (Romans 8:28) and the sufferings of the present time simply don’t compare with the glory to come that will be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).
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