Making sense of causaltiy. Attempts to understand the unexplainable in the context of Jesus following often takes the shape of an appeal to divine sovereignty. Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 50 what they, his brothers, meant for harm, God meant for good, the saving of the lvies of many people. Paul wrote to the Romans in chapter 8 God works out all things according to his purpose.
Our own attempts to put the difficult together often leads us to ask, “For what purpose did that happen?” On a number of occasions in my current ministry context this question has come as we faced the death of young children, youth and young men. I can honestly say I am still baffled by those who troop out the trite to explain the intensely painful and emotional. The idea God “needed” them more than we did just does not fly. I don’t find such explanations part of the Scripture.
What happens when lesser events come our way? Who determines the purpose of this or that event? Helping young people wrestle through the meanging of life’s events must be just that, a community event. Left to ourselves we may string events together and draw wrong conclusions. We may even discover more than “one” purpose. This in not way diminishes the need to recognize the activity of God. Instead it points up the fallibility of my “certainty” when it comes to putting it all together. We need each other trusting the Spirit of God to get our minds around the difficult – and then it is still tough.