God has a plan
So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.
It can seem like things are completely out of control. Life is so unbelievably fragile. There are natural disasters, crime, wars, and other tragic events. Why is there all this evil in the world. And what can be done? God has a plan.
The mystery of evil, and its tragic consequences, is probably the most difficult thing to understand in the world. With or without God, evil is difficult to endure. But somehow this can seem more difficult for people of faith, with an all-loving God who takes great care of us. If God is all-loving, why doesn’t God just stop evil in the first place?
There are two reasons, both of which require faith to accept. But from the start, we believe this truth: God has a plan. One important consideration is that God created us in His image and likeness. To that end, one important attribute for a human is free will. (Our intellect and our will are the things that make us humans made in God’s image and likeness.)
Now often freedom gets defined as being able to do whatever we want. But this is not freedom. Think of a child who could do anything. It might very well be the case they could be happy for a while, but ultimately they become trapped by the very things they want.
God’s plan for freedom is different. Freedom is that ability to become who it is we were made to be. And so we are truly free to the degree that we become more and more like God in our lives. This sometimes involves sacrifice. This sometimes mean we choose to do something that is not immediately pleasurable. It may even mean choosing to do something that has negative consequences.
In order to understand the second reason for evil, we need to distinguish God’s two wills. The first could be called God’s active will, which because of God’s nature, God can only will good. The second will is known as God’s permissive will. That is, God permits some evil because God knows he can bring about a greater good from it.
And so for that reason, we can sing at the Easter Vigil about the happy fault of Adam. Even though the fall of our first parents impacted us all, insofar as we are born into a condition of sin, this fault brought about the incarnation, the divine Son of God, Jesus, who saved us from our sins.
This can, to be sure, be small consolation on the surface in the midst of deep suffering. But with faith, which is a gift given to us by God’s grace, we can come to believe that something better awaits us. And God gives us plenty of evidence of his plan. God desires all to be saved. God’s plan involves not leaving us in sin but sending His Son to die for us. God’s plan involves a deep and loving desire for a powerful relationship with us.
And all this is good news indeed.
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