Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Problem of God AND Suffering (Theodicy)

ATTEMPTS to viably answer the prevalence of evil in our world, in the light of a thoroughly good and all-powerful God, have perplexed many, many thousands of suffering people. Believers included.
Here are three truths that prove, in tension, a conundrum: 1. God is all-powerful; 2. God is good; 3. evil is real. Evil leads to suffering.
It is such an enigma to anyone who believes in God that evil seems so often to triumph; this is especially the case when we see that evil is much more visible in our world than God’s all-powerful nature, and God’s goodness (unless we are especially blessed by spiritual sight for these, which we ought to pray for).
How do we resolve the evils in the world in the field of God’s power and goodness?
Evils come by nature — natural disasters — and by morality — those caused by people. God would certainly be implicated in the first, and yet we do not know the purpose of these evils. We may know beyond this life.
But the evils wrought by people into our lives and the lives of our loved ones perplex us; possibly most when so-called good people hurt us (though we are all capable of hurting people).
There is no answer that placates all people in the face of this suffering world, other than a perfectly knowledgeable truth: we cannot understand because we do not yet see it all.
To the problem of suffering, there is peace in this: Lord, help us to understand that we cannot understand.
***
Prayer:
Minister to the Suffering, O Lord
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Breath of the Holy Spirit,
Giver of Life,
Heal.
Provide, Lord, what we cannot do for ourselves.
Make this healing peace the foundation of our being — make this real.
Help us let go of pain.
Help accept the pain that is all too real.
Help make this pain of meaning in the broader expanse of life.
As I accept, this moment, what I hate, make space.
As space is made for new life, make me, O Lord, capable for better.
Purge me of the darkness of evil that assails; bring me through to the light of Your life.
Help us understand, we cannot understand.
Bring us that peace that can come from nowhere but You.
Revive us by Your Word of comfort so our world would not be devoid of You.
By the Lord Jesus Christ,
My Saviour, My Rock, My Redeemer,
I pray.
AMEN.

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