I've been reflecting a lot this week about providence. At the beginning of this pandemic, the world was struck by a crippling fear. We all felt it. There so much that we didn't (and still don't) know about this unseen enemy. We've all made sacrifices in the name of the common good, some more willingly than others. Some have had sacrifice thrust upon them and are still reeling from the loss. I want to clarify something about God. God did not desire this pandemic. This pandemic was not in God's original, beautiful plan. God desires only good things for us. However, God did allow this pandemic. There's a very important distinction here. All things are either willed or allowed by God.
Do we not allow things to happen that we don't want? Double negative, I know. I've heard this idea compared to a parent that allows their child to fail. They don't want their child to go through the pain associated with failure, but they know that to be a loving parent means to allow them to struggle so as to learn from their mistakes. Sometime similar (though not the same) is true of God. Sin, suffering, and death were never in His original plan for us, but now those things exist because of human pride and the fall of humanity after the sin of Adam and Eve. So what does God do? He brings about an ever greater plan for goodness out of the evil He never desired.
"O happy fault
that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!"
God's original plan didn't include Jesus's incarnation and paschal mystery, because we didn't need it. But because of the good that God can work with evil, we have a fate more glorious than Adam and Eve could have ever imagined. They were God's friends. We are His children.
So what does this mean for us today in the pandemic? It means that God didn't cause this pandemic, but He allowed it at this time and in this place because He has a plan to bring good from it. That plan requires that His beloved children cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
Thankfully, neither I nor anyone I love has been severely impacted by illness caused by the coronavirus. I know people who have lost jobs. I know people who are almost entirely alone and are suffering the weight of loneliness. I know people that are unsure of their futures. For me though, trying to plan a wedding for this June feels like trying to catch fog, but my fiance and I have been listening to the Holy Spirit and let me tell you, God's new plan for us (which was His plan all along) fills me with more joy and life that anything that I could have dreamed up.
It's so much easier said than done, but
"Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy.
For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit."
God doesn't expect you to understand, He doesn't even ask you to understand, but He does ask you to trust. As a child trusts a good and loving father, can you trust God? Do not ration the gifts He gives you. Indulge them in every moment. Your heart will expand with love as you become who you were made to be.
-Amanda Nobis, Director of Evangelization