a generous theodicy

the⋅od⋅i⋅cy: a vindication of the divine attributes, particularly holiness or justice, in establishing or allowing the existence of physical and moral evil.

this morning, i nodded along vigorously as i read prodigal jon's post on theodicy. hardly a week ago, i was discussing the story of Job with some friends, and honestly, he just might have copied-and-pasted those words from my mouth.

God is the same. our circumstances don't change His nature. do we view God through our comfort level, or do we view our life situations through God's nature? and the GOOD that He promises to give us will not always feel good. His good is greater and more good for us and for Him and His glory than any kind of good we could dream up for ourselves. when life starts to suck, we need a perspective change, not a new God.

yeah, yes, right on, i could go on with this stuff all day long!!

and then i opened up to jeremiah.

you have been a harlot
therefore the rain has been withheld
there has been no spring rain
now you call to Me
'my Father, You are my Friend!
'will You be angry forever?'
you have spoken
and have done evil things,
and you have had your way.

repent and mourn
circumcise your hearts
or else My wrath will go forth like fire
and burn with none to quench it
because of the evil of your deeds.

besiegers will come from a far country
and lift their voices against the cities of Judah.
like watchmen of a field they are against her round about,
because she has rebelled against Me, declares the Lord.
your ways and your deeds
have brought these things to you.
this is your evil. how bitter!
how it has touched your heart!

My people are foolish,
they know Me not;
they are stupid children
and have no understanding.
they are shrewd to do evil,
but to do good they do not know.

we could take it right back to the farming analogy: we reap what we have sown.

sometimes, crappy things happen in and around our lives because of other people's sin. sometimes, it's just because this world is fallen and our enemy is still roaming about with power to do heinous things just for his sick pleasure. sometimes, difficult circumstances might actually be the design of the Divine, providentially provided to bring us the greatest good -- nearness to Him. but there are times -- not always, but there are -- when our crappy life circumstances are the direct result and consequence of our own sin and depravity.

which calls for brokenness and repentance ...

if you will return, O Israel, declares the Lord,
then you should return to Me.
and if you will put away your detested things from My presence,
and will not waver,
and you will swear, 'As the Lord lives,'
in truth, in justice and in righteousness;
then the nations will bless themselves in Him,
and in Him they will glory.

break up your fallow ground
do not sow among thorns.
circumcise yourselves to the Lord
and remove the foreskins of your heart,
men of Judah, people of Jerusalem.

a lion has gone up,
a destroyer of nations has set out;
he has gone from his place
to make your land a waste.
your cities will be ruined
without inhabitant.
for this, put on sackcloth,
lament and wail;
for the fierce anger of the Lord
has not turned back from us.

wash your heart form evil, O Jerusalem,
that you may be saved.


or, like Jesus said ...

bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

christians do a lot of crazy things in the face of difficulties. we cry out, 'woe is me! God has forsaken me!' we bolster our faith with pithy verses, 'God will not give me more than i can handle.' we run away. we give up. we press on out of sheer determination and force of will, with or without faith. we ignore our nagging doubts that trials have given cause to rise, or we indulge them to the point of apostasy. we allow jealousy to take root, coveting the 'easier' lives of others. we cling to the hope of the Kingdom of Heaven, where there will be no more tears.

but how often do we repent?

even Job repented, and i'm not entirely sure what his sin was.

except that he was human.

then Job answered the Lord and said,
"I know that You can do all things,
and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'
Therefore, I have declared that which I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know
Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.
I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
but now my eye sees You;
therefore I retract,
and I repent in dust and ashes."

yeah, i don't necessarily have any conclusions on this. but it's a thought, nonetheless.

now let us bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

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