By: Kathleen Yacharn
The past few weeks have been tragic for the whole world, with three terrible plane crashes in the Ukraine, Mali, and Taiwan, deadly clashes in Gaza, and terrorist threats targeting Norway. What can we, as human beings, say or do in the face of this evil? Many who see these events point to them as a sign that there can be no loving God since He could never allow these things to take place.
As believers, we know that God can and will make all things for the Good, because His plan is the ultimate good. We know that despite tragedy, pain, and suffering, there is the promise of His Presence, love, and Heaven to lift us out of the darkness in this world. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) tells us:
“God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it…” (CCC, 311)
“In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures…” (CCC, 312)
and again, in Scripture:
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God’” (Rm 8:28).
When times like these come, it is hard to know what to say or do, especially when so many are affected. Dr. Peter Kreeft and others have explained the problem of evil much better than I could hope to. But I know what it’s like to doubt. In the past, I’ve questioned God’s plan for me, and the world. Evil and pain and sin exist, and as long as they do, it will be hard to see the hand of God guiding all things with His love.
But we can’t allow our faith to get sidetracked by doubt. In the end, faith is a choice we make in our hearts to simply believe without proof, without signs, without anything except trust in the Lord, in Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. It’s difficult, it’s miraculous, it’s a gift, and it is our faith.
Those who have faith will see tragedy and suffering differently. They will see a miracle in the woman who crawled from the wreckage of a plane. They will see God’s hand in saving a woman sentenced to death for professing her faith Him. They will see a priest who died trying to fend off a burglar and believe that he is now in the company of Saints in Heaven.
During these times of doubt, tragedy, and pain, we have to trust even more in the Lord’s goodness and remember that He is our creator, He knows all, sees all, and can make good out of all things.