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Posted June 22, 2010
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`Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence: The Secret of Peace and Happiness' is so aptly titled that one could argue that a descriptive is unnecessary. This brief book is written in two parts by two different authors, yet their message is so cohesive and complementary, that it is easily read as a unified whole.
This is a wonderful, profound, yet simple book. It can initially be quite hard to swallow, because it can seem to the non-discerning reader that God wills the evil we experience in our lives. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The basic premise is this: accept and even embrace all that comes your way--the good and joyful as well as the pain and suffering--recognizing that your Loving Father has His hand in the situation; for God actively wills the good, and even `permits' the evil in our lives only because He recognizes a greater good can come of it. As the author states, "The misfortune which has befallen you will soon do what all your exercises of piety would never have been able to do."(p 103)
This is a hard teaching, and truly a `mystery', because our human limitations do not permit us to see the big picture, not only across the world but across time. Sometime we are blessed to look back on suffering in our life--sometimes tremendous suffering--and see how that season and situation in our lives transformed into a good, or perhaps even protected us from a much greater evil/pain that God knew would have been right around the corner. To illustrate, If I was heading to a destination where, unbeknownst to me, I would be greatly tempted and fall into grave sin, and on my way I am hit by a drunk driver and paralyzed, that would seem to me a great evil. But would not the potential loss of my soul be much MUCH worse? I even reflected on this when I brought my 3 month old daughter in for her inoculations; I was devastated as I held her down so the doctor could administer 4 shots in her legs, seeing her looking up at me with incredulous and deeply pained eyes as if to say, "why are you letting him do this to me? You're my father!" Could I ever expect her to understand that what I was protecting her from was far worse? Yet even MY knowledge of this greater good did not prevent me from suffering in union with her.
So again the title in many ways says it all. We must trust... trust that we have a loving and merciful God Who is actively orchestrating all in our lives so that we may ultimately be drawn to Him, even when the "good" seems far removed. Far from being a hindrance upon our free will, it is His constant offering of the "Great Invitation" from every direction and in every circumstance to enter into His eternal joy with Him. I strongly recommend this book, especially for those who have suffered greatly in their past and/or are suffering now. Though if I might also offer a suggestion; the book, as good as it is, will not necessarily on its own alleviate the misery of a loved one in the midst of tremendous pain. Both prayer and a receptive ear of one who "get's it" (probably you) will often be necessary to process through the circumstance to the degree where God's loving hand becomes evident.
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