Acceptance element #4: The willingness to trust that, on the aggregate, God steers creation in a hopeful direction
When Brittany and I suffered our losses, we weren’t suffering on account of our faith. Nobody was persecuting us and we were not under attack. While we can draw hope from these verses knowing that they remind us that God does have a plan that is slowly unfolding, their truest audience is someone persisting in the midst of persecution.
And so, my summary of the summary of these verses would be this: God is steering creation in a hopeful direction. To suggest anything more specific is to get lost in the details of a verse that is notoriously difficult to translate in a way that is true to its original language.
Knowing that God steers creation in a hopeful direction does not necessarily solve our problems or make us feel better about the tragedies that have befallen us. However, our ultimate hope, in faith, is that God will redeem creation to such a degree that tragedy is no longer a part of creation. For this reason, I don’t think Paul’s reminder falls on deaf ears, and I do find it uplifting. I can both experience life’s tragedy as tragedy (meaning: I don’t have to pretend that tragedy is joy in disguise) and use that as a reminder that God is actively working to remove tragedy itself from his creation because he does not want it there. Tragedy is not God’s desired plan for his people.
Believing that, I think, opens us up just a little bit more to accepting the world as it is.