Reflection: It’s instinctive for humans to believe in some form of karma – even if we wouldn’t call it that. At some level, we expect that if we work hard, we will do well. Input correlates to output. People get what they deserve. And at some level, that’s true – we live in an ordered universe where actions have consequences, for better and for worse.
But of course, in a world disfigured by sin and transfigured by grace, that’s not the whole story. I once heard a noted theologian say: we think the underlying principle of the universe is cause and effect, but it’s actually death and resurrection. We only have so much control over our circumstances and what happens in our lives and in the world. Thankfully, in the economy of a gracious God, this means not only that we struggle and suffer disproportionately to what we may “deserve”, but that we also find ourselves wonderfully blessed beyond our deserts.
Question: Does it surprise you when you cannot control outcomes? Do you remember to give thanks for the good things God has given you, whether in keeping with or well beyond your own efforts?
Prayer: Father, where I find that I prosper, teach me not to be puffed up about it, but to acknowledge such things as a gift from you. Where my plans are thwarted and my circumstances seem so difficult compared with others, grant me patience under affliction. In place of complacency give me compassion; in place of pride, humility; in place of resentment, trust in your goodness. Amen.