Wrestling with the challenge of evil

Where is God when evil seems to triumph? How can we pray, what can we pray when God seems powerless? Theologians have struggled with these questions for centuries, but there are no neat answers.

woman with hands bowed in prayer
updated March 5, 2022

In his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 6 , Jesus taught,

“This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name,
 your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
 And forgive us as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
artwork photographed by Dr. Aletha

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Practice of Prayer

by Margaret Guenther

By the time I found this book, the author, Margaret Guenther had already passed away, December 11, 2016, at 87 years old. Among other roles, she was the Assistant Rector of St. Columba Episcopal Church in Washington, DC. She had served as a spiritual director and retreat leader, but the only position that touched on medicine was as a volunteer at a home for unwed mothers.

In this little book, she used her theological education as well as her personal life experience to address practical questions that everyone has, Christian or otherwise-like this one, the question of why evil exists.

Writing in The Practice of Prayer, Episcopal priest Margaret Guenther says

“I have great respect for evil and become uncomfortable when we trivialize and try to domesticate it, or even turn it into entertainment via mediocre movies. Most simply put, it is manifested in consistent, conscious choices made in diametrical oposition to the God of love.

Where is God when evil seems to triumph? How can we pray, what can we pray when God seems powerless? Theologians have struggled with these questions for centuries, but there are no neat answers.

Ultimately, we are left with Job, baffled yet willing to let God be God. (Job, a Bible character who suffered multiple undeserved tragedies.)

The question of evil will not go away that simply. We are supposed to be praying and, quite possibly wrestling as well- with our questions, with our doubts, with God. ”

Evil, whether in the actions of an individual or in the behavior of whole nations, is a challenge to our prayer.

Margaret Guenther. from the book

Are you praying for the world’s deliverance from evil?

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Thanks for joining me to consider the Lord’s Prayer and Rev. Guenther’s teaching. I hope to share more from her so please come back. I invite you to

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Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

4 thoughts on “Wrestling with the challenge of evil”

  1. God is there, even when we cannot feel or see Him working, He’s there! We just have to trust that. And evil falls on the saved just as it does the unsaved. We don’t have a ticket to an evil-free life just because we are followers of Jesus Christ. Quite the contrary actually. Many times, like in Job’s case, evil is allowed by God for our good and His glory. This is a difficult concept to grasp, but I believe it is true.

    Thanks for these thoughts and for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    Like

  2. I think the crux of this matter is the gift of choice we’ve been graced with. We are all free to choose for ourselves, but we must remember that we would reap the harvest of the seeds we sow. God cannot be mocked. Thanks for sharing. Many blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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