The elderly nun quietly entered the refectory of the convent. Clasping her hands together and looking heavenward, she exclaimed, “Ah, the economy of God! If there are three people in a room, they are all teaching each other a lesson.” A friend who was at the convent just then on retreat shared this story with me.
I’ve often thought about the wisdom in that nun’s words. Everyone in our lives—whether the loving friend or the challenging neighbor—is there for a purpose. The situations in which we find ourselves, though perhaps painful in the moment, are there so that we can learn what we need for our growth. If we can willingly accept everything that comes to us and see behind the outer forms, especially of those things that are difficult, we find that God’s love and wisdom have been orchestrating it all.
Even when we consider the bigger picture, we find that the universe itself is arranged so that everything is in balance. Scientists recognize that the water, atmosphere, and chemicals on our planet are all perfectly designed to allow life to exist. If the forces of gravity or electromagnetism were to be altered slightly, by even the smallest fraction, the universe would not hold together.
In the midst of this vast plan wrought with divine intelligence, how can we question the purpose of the people and events in our lives? Circumstances are not random, but are a part of “God’s economy,” His perfect order.
Remember, too, that we are not insignificant in God’s plan, nor do our struggles go unnoticed. As Paramhansa Yogananda says, speaking of the state of cosmic consciousness, in his poem, “Samadhi”:
The sparrow, each grain of sand, fall not without my sight.
All space like an iceberg floats within my mental sea.
So what is the divine purpose behind this vast, ordered universe, and behind all of our life’s experiences? God has manifested everything to express His joy, beauty, and love, and our purpose is to realize our oneness with the Creator behind it all. Ultimately, all creation will merge back into the limitless sea of consciousness and rest in the perfect joy from which we came.
With joy in God,