Does God allow bad things to happen in order to show us the consequences of our actions? I struggled against this for a long time, because I couldn’t detach permission from intention. After all, God being omnipotent means he chooses not to intervene at times, which perhaps implies that he intends for hurtful things to happen. And that is hard to reconcile with our understanding of love. But I’ve learned a few things that balance the equation, at least in my mind. First, God truly does walk through hardship with us. It may not feel any less uncomfortable, but the truth of his presence and the presence of his truth are bigger than my feelings. (And this is coming from a fairly strong relativist.) Second, while God may will for things to happen, we as humans have the lethal ability to say no and disobey. And that does, in fact, mess with God’s plans. Doesn’t that technically reduce his omnipotence? Does a dammed river lose any power when it ceases to flow? If anything, the potential grows. Withholding power, I have learned, is not the same as losing it.
The most salient example I can think of is my relationship with G. Geography and time says we never should have seen each other again after last summer. But the opportunity came up and I took it, and I have no regrets for doing so. Do I know that we were meant to be together long term, and actions by one or both of us derailed that? No, and that’s really a moot point. I do think we were allowed to meet again for a reason, because I wouldn’t be who I am professionally or personally had we not, and that is comforting enough to move forward.