I don’t believe that things necessarily happen for a reason, but I do believe fundamentally and unshakeably in grace.
When something bad happens, out of a desire to make some sense out of our suffering, someone will inevitably say – well everything happens for a reason.
I find that kind of thinking profoundly unhelpful. The immediate image that comes to mind for me is a 17 year old girl whose life was cut short by a car accident in December 1992. I simply cannot believe that my childhood friend had to die for some mysterious, hidden plan.
It implies a theology which requires God to inflict suffering upon us for some greater good. If that is true then that god is not a God I have any desire to associate with.
Back in 1992 I didn’t really know how to grieve, let alone search for meaning in such circumstances. But I am older now, I have lived a little and I have encountered different sorts of pain.
I have begun to discover that God’s grace is tremendous. Earlier this week I stumbled across a sentence I had written in ‘Rooted in Love’ – ‘With the compost of grace, new life can emerge from the detritus of suffering’.
I believe that wholeheartedly because I have both witnessed it in the lives of others and experienced in my own.
The grace of God is given generously and abundantly. I’m not sure that soothes the pain of suffering, but in that grace there is hope. The shape that hope takes may be tinged with sorrow and loss. It may take some living into. It may not looked like anything that we could have imagined, but somehow beauty and new life manage to emerge.