“Everything is already all right.” Those were words of wisdom a mother used to offer her daughter when her daughter was facing challenges of one sort or another. Years later, when that daughter was grown and suffering with cancer, those words gave her strength.
Of course, when one is facing a life-threatening disease, everything is not all right. The words could be understood as offering a hopelessly naive take on life. Is everything ever all right in our lives, let alone in our communities, and in the world? As I read the morning news, the first words that come to mind are not that “everything is all right.”
Yet in this Advent season, we continually hear words of hope, encouragement, and an invitation to look beyond the present moment. As Christians, we believe that in Christ’s resurrection, death and the powers of evil have been overcome. No matter the circumstances we face, be they personal illness or structures of society that seem to crumble around us, we act with a quiet but confident assurance that, as Julian of Norwich once wrote, “All shall be well again, and all manner of things shall be well.”
The words a mother offered her daughter were not meant to deny the sufferings of the present. Instead, I hear in them a reminder of the underlying reality of our lives, the gracious God who will work through all manner of things and all kinds of persons for the healing of our lives and the world.