I believe in God. I believe what it says in Romans Chapter 8: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. I don’t think this necessarily refers to God healing every believer who has cancer, or making every believer rich, or giving every believer everything his or her heart desires.
I look at it like this: for God, my life has already played out. He has used it for His purpose, whatever that may have been. Maybe I will have made a positive impact on someone. Or on my community. Maybe I will have changed the world. So everything that is happening in my life is working toward that (whatever it is). So therefore, everything that happens in my life was meant to be, even if it seems like a bad thing at the time.
Ronald Reagan said in his autobiography, “If I’d gotten the job I wanted at Montgomery Ward, I suppose I would never have left Illinois.” I think that really hits the nail on the head. Even if you don’t believe in God, I think it’s really easy to get cynical if you don’t have faith in some kind of karma or fate.
When I get bent out of shape about things that I perceive as “going wrong” in my life, I tend to cool off pretty quickly, precisely because I hold this perspective about my life. For example, in sixth grade I tried out to be in the middle school jazz band. I played alto sax, and there was only room for one in the band. I didn’t make it. I’m pretty sure I cried all afternoon, and I was so incredibly jealous of my friend who did make it.
But in middle school, I really branched out. I played basketball, was active in the FCA, and wrote for the school paper on occasion. My friend who made the jazz band was a cheerleader, but had little time for anything else. Because she was doing regular band and jazz band, she quickly burned out. I think I would have too, but I only had the one band to worry about, and I continued to play sax.
There are terrible, unexplainable things that happen to people. I don’t pretend to have an answer for those things or even try to make someone who has been through great tragedies or trials in life to see from my perspective. What I do know is that every individual needs to have a way to work what happened into the fabric of who they are. If you’ve been through something life-altering, how does that shape your story? How will you use that to create good for someone else?
Sometimes I get very nervous about where my life is going, because I have life goals that I would like to accomplish. When these neuroses begin to overwhelm me, I have to take a step back and remind myself that while I need to make sure I’m doing all I can to reach these goals, I am not ultimately in control.
And that’s a very freeing feeling.