Last Sunday we celebrated the triumph of the first Easter. Through His life in this world, the Lord took on a capability of teaching and leading us to heaven. He invites us to a relationship of love with Him. A key part of this relationship is our trust in His loving care. When bad things happen in our lives, this trust can be shaken.
Here is a simple question for you to consider: Does the Lord always get what He wants? When the Lord was in the world there are clear examples of His sadness over things He wished were different. Not long before the first Easter Jesus learned Lazarus (the brother of Mary and Martha) was sick. The Gospel of John specifically states that Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus, yet He didn’t immediately go to heal Lazarus. He waited two days before starting the journey to where they were. Why? Jesus knew He would miraculously raise Lazarus from the dead days after he had been buried. But this did not stop Jesus from weeping in response to the sadness of Mary and others.
Does the Lord always get what He wants? From one perspective, the answer is a clear “No.” Given that the Lord created all people to go to heaven and some chose hell, this choice is not what the Lord wants. The teachings for the New Church present a series of laws of the Lord’s government or of the Divine providence. The first of these laws deals with the essential requirement that we be free to choose what to do in our lives. Without this freedom, real happiness is impossible. As we know, if there are higher and
lower priorities, sometimes something valuable, but of a lower priority, cannot be achieved and still also have us achieve the higher priority. Parents can seek the happiness of their child by intervening to prevent anything that threatens the child’s immediate happiness. This too easily results in a child, who hardly knows the value of delayed gratification, who has little experience with frustration or with solving his or her own problems. Such a person does not find normal adult life easy or happy.
Another law of the Lord’s government is the law of permissions. This law is sometimes misunderstood because we tend to think that “anyone who permits something also wills it” (Arcana Caelestia 2768:2). But just as we can allow someone we love to make a poor choice that we fear will bring negative consequences to their lives, the Lord permits evil because there are many things we cannot learn without making mistakes. In this regard, the Lord always gets what He wants because He wants us to be free, which has to mean we are free to do terribly evil things. Even when bad things happen, the Lord is getting what He wants because He wants us to be free to grow in love and wisdom. May this guide us in our relations with each other.