Thursday, November 6, 2014

Suffering and Divine Providence

From Monsignor Charles Pope:
One of the great mysteries of God’s providence is that He often leaves things unresolved or unattended to for a very long time. Often, despite our fervent prayers, He doesn’t rush to fix everything, and He has His reasons for this.

Perhaps it is that we often grow through struggles. We discover strengths that we did not know we had.
Sometimes, suffering brings wisdom, and we learn more by living our questions for a while, rather than getting quick answers.

Suffering can also spur creativity. Many movies, works of literature, paintings, poems, and so forth are often the fruit of struggle and speak to the drama of our life and the conflicts we often endure.
Sometimes suffering brings growth. There’s an old saying, “Things do, by opposition grow.” Another one says, “Calm seas do not a mariner make.”

Perhaps, too, in rushing to solve things and frequently intervening, God would cancel too much human freedom, which He both respects and sees as necessary for us to be among those who love, those who are sons and daughters rather than slaves.

Finally, and most mysteriously from our perspective, fixing one thing often affects many other things. Very often, in a rush to fix many things in our culture we have caused a great deal of harm as well. Whatever our good intentions, many of our welfare programs have harmed our families and our churches, from which help, through the bonds of charity, traditionally came. Many of our technologies have had harmful effects on the environment. And despite our many labor-saving devices, most of us are busier than ever. Fixing things sometimes leads to more problems, or at least brings unintended consequences.

Yes, there are mysteries to God’s providence, and despite our many and seemingly reasonable requests that things be fixed (and quickly!), God in His wisdom often delays and leaves things unresolved. He has His reasons, but most of the answers as to why are none of our business.

I thought of this as I watched the video below. It is of a plumber who is determined to fix a leak. His frustration grows, and is understandable, but sometimes in fixing a drip too hastily we get a flood.

Be careful before you rush to fix things in your life or in the lives of others. Fixing is often required, but go slowly, carefully, and learn patience. Learn from God, who can fix everything instantly but usually does not. (Read more.)

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