It seems almost as if there were some equality among things, some balance in all possible contingencies which we are not permitted to know lest we should learn indifference to good and evil, but which is sometimes shown to us for an instant as a last aid in our last agony.
This is an intuition I’ve had a number of times, without having to wait for my last agony. It’s an idea I’ve been uneasy about entertaining. It’s an implication that can be drawn from many Christian sources, beginning with Genesis 50:20: “...you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good...” I don’t dare say it to someone who is suffering deeply, because of its suggestion that this had to happen, or that it’s really ok that it happened, and because it can seem so cheap when offered by the one who is not suffering. But I silently hope it will come to them.
Taken wrongly when offered to another, it could seem callous; taken wrongly in one’s own heart it could lead, as Chesterton says, to a loss of the sense that good and evil really matter—if God is going to bring it all right anyway, why should we trouble ourselves? But that’s the trap of the superficially logical. “It must be that offenses come, but woe to him by whom they come.”
It may be the same thing Julian of Norwich heard, and Eliot quoted in Four Quartets, and on which I lean very heavily: “And all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”Pre-TypePad