When something horrible happens, is that part of God’s plan for me?

God does not desire that we suffer. God realizes that creation has gone horribly wrong (that’s what the book of Genesis gets at poetically). God’s plan is to respond with the power of Divine redemptive and healing love to the ways in which creation has gone awry. God’s love is the transformative power of the Holy Spirit given us in our relationship with Jesus.

The reality is that suffering in human life is a given. God desires to save us from suffering and death. I have often preached, “There are only two things of which I am absolutely certain. One is that God loves us. Two, human persons suffer.” No one has ever disagreed with number two.
The great lesson of our faith is that there is no resurrection without the cross, which means there is no cross in our life that does not contain the seeds of resurrection.

The Catechism cogently teaches, “faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it” (CCC#164).

Those who say there is no God because they see suffering are still left with all the question of all the suffering. Better to trust in a God revealed in our scriptures who over and over has brought good out of evil and life from death.

Richard G. Malloy, SJ

Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).