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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from words of suffering, to words of hope

Beauty from suffering- from Job to Handel, words bring comfort #Messiah#Handel#thebookofJob

 Job chapter 19

“But I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the end he will stand on the dust.

Even after my skin has been destroyed,
yet I will see God in my flesh.

I will see him myself;
my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger.

My heart longs within me.”

spoken by Job

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

 I’ve been listening to the Daily Audio Bible Chronological versionIMG_2700.png
and this passage of scripture was in one of the daily readings recently.

The book-Job

Job, a book in the Old Testament, ponders the meaning of suffering. It is not a book you would associate with Christmas, yet these words are  sung in Handel’s famous musical, Messiah.
We usually hear  Messiah performed at Christmas, but Handel wrote it  for Easter. He drew the words of the songs from Scripture, choosing passages of comfort, peace, hope, and love,  telling  the story of God sending Jesus to earth to redeem His people.

Handel, the composer

Georg Handel was a barber-surgeon in northern Germany in the 17th century. Barber-surgeons were physicians in medieval Europe who only performed surgery, often treating wounds from war injuries. Eventually, surgery and barbery became separate occupations.

I’m glad his son, George did not follow his father into medicine. Instead George Frideric Handel studied music and eventually composed his masterpiece , Messiah, first performed in 1742, and which  millions of people have listened to or sang since then.



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Thank you so much.    Dr. Aletha 


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