How Can the Suffering in This World be God's Will?
Accepting the will of God is not always easy. Yet as brothers and sisters in faith, that is what we are called to do. Two great men of faith, Billy Graham and Thomas Merton, believe God's will is found in anything that is required of us in order that we may be united with God, and united with one another in love.
I think they're right. I'll give you a personal example...
Recently, I prayed for a little boy with cancer, that he may be healed. I prayed hard. A lot of people prayed hard. But the child passed on. I was momentarily ticked off. I felt like my prayers were not answered.... but I didn't feel that way for long.
Thomas Merton wrote that there is only one true flight from the world; it is not an escape from conflict, anguish and suffering, but the flight from disunity and separation, to the unity and peace in the love of God and other human beings.
This child's sickness and his eartly death brought me and so many others closer to God, and closer to each other. And if we truly believe, we know that this little boy is experiencing love and joy beyond all earthly measure and comprehension. And because of this little boy's passing, we have transformed our focus from ourselves to a focus of love and caring for the grieving parents of this sweet boy.
Thomas Merton also observed that one of the great paradoxes of our faith is that we cannot find our true self and God unless we pass entirely from ourselves and empty ourselves into God and other people in the "purity of a selfless love." The great Billy Graham put it slightly another way: "God gives us a selfless love for others, as the Holy Spirit changes us from within."
Look to The Cross for God's Will
So if we accept the basic Christian tenet that God is love, then God's will is anything - even that which is painful - that draws us closer to Him, and compels us to love our neighbors.
The greatest example of God's will is the cross. The cross represents suffering and then joy. It represents light shining in the darkness. The cross represents death overcome by eternal life. The cross is a beautiful paradox.
Happy Easter! And God bless you all!