Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The Problem with Theodicy
There is evil in the world. That much is true. I seriously doubts that anyone with any sense of reality would deny the presence, even the seeming omni-presence of evil in the world. Whether we call it original sin or the condition of the human heart yearning to please self over the common good, evil is present.
I have been struggling, however, with theodicy. Theodicy is the vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of evil in the world. Rather, the idea that eventually, God and good will win despite the incredible cruelty that this world dishes out. This is particularly true in light of the past several days. In the last ten days I have been utterly confused and jaded by the church vocationally, Danelle has failed to have her teaching contract renewed after three years of stellar reviews and evaluations, it seems that evil has won at every turn and today one of the back windows just fell off of the van. Its like its not enough that we have both experienced the equivalent of vocational rejection, we had to have some just plain old personal aggravation as a side dish. Yep, there is evil in the world and sometimes it is present in a window falling off.
So I have spent hours trying to figure this out. Trying to understand if there is some lesson that I should be getting or some profound message that is being sent. I have struggled with whether I have done something recently that has unleashed a torrent of evil in my families direction, though I know that is the perception of a flawed theology. None the less, you know you think it too when a bunch of stuff happens to you. I have asked, what have I done to deserve this? I have given my life over to helping others get closer to God, Danelle has given herself over to helping young people discover their passion and embrace their future. These are vocations that would seemingly be replete with opportunities for selfless giving and long hours but would provide abundant blessings, yet evil seems to beset us on every side.
I understand Lamentations and the lament Psalms when the writers spoke of the enemy surrounding them and prospering while all they had to eat were tears. I also know that the best lessons are the hardest learned, yet that does not diminish the pain of the present. I will just have to endure a little longer. I remain:
In the Desert,
Gracious God, I know that you are a Savior in the desert who leads His people through. Give us the strength to learn without becoming hardened and to grow without becoming jaded. In the name of the suffereing Saviour, Jesus. Amen.