One of the hard facts of life is that everyone eventually will have to face moments of personal crisis. These crises take a variety of forms, such as coming to terms with an addiction, accepting the consequences of bad behavior, entering into the pain of wounds from one’s family, dealing with financial distress, bad health and ultimately, death.
The Christian faith gives a challenging exhortation in the face of these seeming contradictions. Saint Paul commands the Christian to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Th. 5:18). If one really understand these words, one cannot help but be struck by Paul’s directness. Everything, including the worst possible evil, is an occasion for praising the Lord. This thanksgiving is precisely what the Church does in celebrating the passion and death of Jesus Christ at every Eucharistic Sacrifice.
Christians profess faith in an all-powerful God. In affirming that God is omnipotent, the Creed is not saying that He is the merely the strongest power among many in the universe. Rather, the Church is confessing that all power comes from Him. While God never actively wills evil, it is equally true there is nothing that happens that He does not at least permit. Everything that comes to pass is in some way a part of the divine plan.
It is easy to thank God for the good things received from His hand and to pass over those that seem bad. Difficult as it is, the Christian is commanded to offer praise for misfortunes also. One may never know exactly how in this life, but the God who raised Jesus from the dead is working to bring good out of them, not only for those who suffer them, but for the salvation of the whole world.