In the second reading at Mass this weekend, St. Paul made a remarkable statement. He wrote, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” In these divinely inspired words, Paul assures us that God can turn any tragedy into a triumph.
Throughout history countless people have taken great solace in this famous biblical verse from the letter to the Romans. No matter how bad things get, it is comforting to know that God can make it work for good. But to be honest, many other people have said, “Wait a minute. ALL things? God can make ALL things work for good? Hmm, maybe SOME things, but I’m not buying ALL things.”
How can God possibly make these tragic events “work for good”? How can God make a situation that is totally awful turn into something that is good and desirable?
Well, I’d love to explain to you exactly how this can be, but I can’t. Now, don’t get me wrong. I BELIEVE that God is able to make all things work for good. I just can’t tell you exactly how it works.
However, I can tell you one way it definitely does NOT work: There is no way God or anyone else can make a horrible tragedy work for good if this natural, earthly life is all there is.
If there is no life-after-death; if there is no Heaven; if there is no opportunity for our souls to spend eternity in the glorious presence of the Lord; if, as the secularists insist (and as I once believed in my atheist days), this world is the only world and this life is the only life, then Death wins and our brief existence is pretty meaningless.
The only way St. Paul’s remarkable statement has a chance of being true is if we consider the tragedies of life from an eternal perspective. Only on the other side of eternity, in the glorious heavenly kingdom, will God be able to make certain terrible events work for good.
In Heaven, all the wrongs on earth that have not yet been made right, will finally be made right. In Heaven, as the book of Revelation describes, “[God] will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away” (Rev 21:4).
So, God does have the power to transform all tragedies into something good — as long as God has the power to conquer death, which we as Christians firmly believe. And the best example of this occurred 2,000 years ago to a 33-year-old carpenter in Palestine.
If you think homicide, suicide, infanticide, or genocide are awful, then try DEICIDE — the killing of God. When the Creator of the Universe’s only begotten Son hung limp and lifeless on that cross, it was the greatest triumph of evil over good in history…for a while.
But three days later, when Jesus rose from the dead and walked out of His tomb, that tragic event was transformed into the greatest triumph of good over evil in history…forever. Also, it became the event which paved the way for sinful mankind to be forgiven and reconciled with God.