One of the hard facts of life is that all of us 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 our own bad behavior, entering into the pain of wounds from our family, dealing with financial distress, bad health and ultimately, death.
Our faith gives a challenging exhortation in the face of these seeming contradictions. Saint Paul urges us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Th. 5:18). If we really understand these words, we cannot help but be struck by Paul’s directness. Everything, including the worst possible evil, is an occasion for praising the Lord. This is precisely what the Church does in celebrating the passion and death of Jesus Christ at every Eucharistic Sacrifice.
We profess faith in an all-powerful God. In affirming that God is omnipotent, we are not saying that He is the strongest power in the universe. Rather, we are 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 permit. Everything that comes to pass is in some way a part of the divine plan.
This week our nation celebrates Thanksgiving. It will be easy for us to thank God for the good things that we have received from His hand and try to pass over those that seem bad. Difficult as it is, we are invited this Thanksgiving to offer praise for all of our misfortunes also. We 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 ourselves, but for the salvation of the whole world.