What we think is a huge disappointment—the job we didn’t get, the love who married someone else—may, from God’s viewpoint, be an entry into something or someone far better. God sees the opportunity in what we see as the setback. While we fret and fume over what’s immediate, God takes the long view. (We may have experienced a bit of that when, months after an event, we understand why it happened, or years later, see a wrong rectified.)
God also sees far beyond silly feuds and denominational differences. In his last testament, Father Christian de Cherge, a Trappist monk killed in 2006 by extremists in Algeria, described this perspective: “at last I will be able…to see the children of Islam as [God] sees them, illuminated in the glory of Christ…whose secret joy will always be to bring forth our common humanity amidst our differences.” A lifetime of trying to find the harmonious notes between Islam and Christianity may have taught de Cherge the perspective of One who created and loved all children equally.
Even if the tunes playing in our heads are flat, uninspiring or discordant, God’s orchestra is tuning up, God’s blazingly magnificent design is slowly unfolding. In God’s symphony, no note is amiss; each is meticulously planned. The cymbals are thrumming, the trumpets are heralding God’s beloved daughter or son—moi! We may feel stuck in a dead-end job or relationship, but God is saying in the words of Jeremiah 29:11, “For surely I know the plans I have for you…plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”
If we could see as God does, we’d marvel at the intricate design of a grapefruit or orange, the star-shaped pattern of seeds in an apple. We wouldn’t rob ourselves of our own experience through haste or inattention. Instead, we’d see as God did at creation: that it was very good. Thomas Merton writes that if the seeds God plants in my freedom take root in good soil, “I would become the love that [God] is” and “my harvest would be God’s glory and my joy.” And THAT is certainly worth seeing.