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.

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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"faith, hope, love" each word written on a card, strung on a line with clothes pins
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“bold as a lion”- Weekend words from Proverbs

encouragement to be generous, law abiding and just- from Proverbs

Proverbs 28, New International Version 

The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
 Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked,
but those who heed it resist them.
Evildoers do not understand what is right,
but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.
Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor
amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.
 10 Whoever leads the upright along an evil path
will fall into their own trap,
but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.
 12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation;
but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.
13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

man with hands folded in prayer
14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble. photo from Lightstock

14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God,
but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.
 18 The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe,
but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.
 25 The greedy stir up conflict,
but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.
26 Those who trust in themselves are fools,
but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.
27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

 

 

Please come back next weekend for another proverb of wisdom; and share with your friends on social media.

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