Strong winds from Hurricane Irma blew down a huge pine tree in our yard. It could have gone through our roof were it not for another tree that stood in its way and held it back.
The tree that stood in the way is a good representation of our role as Christians. When we are being salt and light, we won’t stop all the evil that rages around us. But we can stop some of it.(1)
We stand firm by letting our roots go down deep into Christ (Colossians 2:6-7):
1. Setting life goals with Christ’s purposes in mind (Colossians 3:17).
2. Lovingly speaking up for Biblical truth (Ephesians 4:14-15).
3. Returning good for evil (Romans 12:17-21).
4. Treating others as we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12).
5. Sharing our faith so other trees can stand with us (Matthew 28:18-20).
6. Caring more about God’s “opinion” than man’s opinions (Galatians 1:10).(2)
We won’t keep all the trees from falling, but in Christ’s strength, we can prevent some damage.
(1) Matthew 5:13-16
(2) Of course, God’s “opinion” is not simply an opinion. It is 100% truth.
A couple of days before Solanus died, he told Fr. Gerald, “I look on my whole life as giving, and I want to give and give until there is nothing left of me to give.” On the morning of July 31 Msgr. Edward Casey, who had been spending a few days with Solanus, thought he seemed to rally a little. He left the room to write a report to the family. About that time a nurse and an orderly came in to bathe Solanus with oil. When they finished, they gently laid him back on the pillow. They heard him softly whisper something, but they could not understand him. Suddenly he sat up, stretched out his arms, and in a clear voice said, “I give my soul to Jesus Christ.” These were his last words. Lying back on the pillow, he breathed forth his soul. It was eleven o’clock in the morning, at the very hour and on the very date of his first Holy Mass, fifty-three years before. The sisters and the doctors, with Msgr. Edward, were consoled on entering the room to see the look of peace on Solanus’s face.
—from the book Gratitude and Grit: The Life of Blessed Solanus Casey,
by Brother Leo Wollenweber, OFM Cap, page 88-89
A child is molested and the perpetrator never found. A retired couple loses their life’s savings to a scam artist. A gang member murders and goes free on a technicality.
Where is God? Why do bad guys sometimes win and good guys sometimes suffer?
When things don’t make sense, we must remember these important truths:
1. Man, not God, brought suffering into the world. (Genesis 1-3).
God created a perfect world, but mankind’s sins damaged it.
2. Our present world must be the best possible world for restoring mankind to God because that is God’s goal (Ezekiel 18:23).
3. God gave us free choice, and freedom allows people to make bad choices, but we can always choose to do the right thing (Genesis 4:7).
We may be confused by the evil and suffering we see in our world, and we may not fully understand why God allows it to happen. But we can always trust God’s character to be 100% good and loving.
We lost a “very good” earth when we sinned, but we gain a perfect eternity when we repent of our sins and follow Christ. That puts all things in proper perspective.