The Problem of Evil

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(Photo by Artsy Vibes on Unsplash)


As history has been unfurled,
One question ‘gainst the church has stood:
From whence came evil to this world
If God created all things good?
We grant some evil works for gain,
Some purpose may be found therein;
Yet is there not much needless pain,
Much suffering because of sin?
Could God not keep his world from death,
Or – bitter thought – might he desire
To curse those he hath filled with breath,
To see them sinking in the mire?
Or might it be that he allows
His people to rebel, to stray,
That they may truly then avow
His lordship, then may truly pray?
And could it be that majesty
Did not abandon to decay
Damned souls, but there upon the tree
Engaged in full the sinner’s fray?
Christ bore the wrath of God in place
Of those who chose the path to hell
That they might turn to seek the face
Of love, to taste the one true well.
God’s justice cometh like a flame,
And evil will not stand the show.
I may not know from whence it came,
But well I know where it will go.

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Job

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See him, possessing all good things,
Continuing his offerings.
Take careful note of how he sings.
His is a heart that knows its place.
He recognizes all is grace
And loves his unseen Father’s face.

See him now, hearing all are lost.
Into a storm his soul is tossed.
The friends who comfort soon accost.
Now pay attention to the cast,
For though prosperity has passed,
His resignation still holds fast.

See him, bereft of all good things,
Still praising through his sufferings.
Take careful note of how he sings.
His is a heart that knows its place.
He recognizes all is grace
And loves his unseen Father’s face.

Grieving Well

Pain is not without its purpose.
Tragedy still points to truth.
Terror may seem to usurp us,
Yet our God is not uncouth.
He, in sov’reignty, is moving.
Evil cannot halt his will.
Through the darkness, he is proving
Faithful. Let us then be still.
Nothing from his gaze is hidden.
He will never fail nor tire.
Evils come to us unbidden;
Evil will one day expire.
Suffer well, O worn believer.
See the larger plan unfold.
Trust the Father, blessed receiver.
He is purging you like gold. 

Grief

Broken with no hope of being mended;
Focused on a chapter that has ended;
Feeling as if time has been suspended;
Captivated by the sudden stillness-
Life appears infected with an illness.

Pain, oh how much longer will you tarry?
Fear: oppressive fog around the ferry.
How much farther, Father, must I carry
Weakness, like a cancer in my being
Which corrupts the sights that I am seeing?

Deeply does the curse cause me to suffer.
With each passing day, the road feels rougher.
God, be my deliverance, my buffer.
I can not in my own strength endure this.
Must I suffer so much in your service?

Yet your promise holds, for you are working
All things for the good – even the hurting.
Keep me then, in test and trial, from cursing
You in your unfathomable wisdom.
Keep me focused on your holy kingdom. 

The Treasures of Tragedy

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O Father, I shudder with ev’ry affliction.
The day seems far dimmer than ever before.
Man is corrupted by sin’s contradiction.
The depths of depravity darken my door.
I know of no road to escape this great testing.
The cries and the chaos do threaten demise.
Sickness and sorrow are my heart arresting,
But within this furnace is found a great prize.
The treasures of tragedy truly perplex me:
I sought not a one, yet I value them all.
Verily does this perplexity vex me,
But ne’er would I waste e’en a drop of this gall.
I wish to be rid of this cup so revolting.
God, with ev’ry draught, I am drinking in death.
Yet you have suffered a far worse assaulting,
And yet you are with me with every breath.
You sanctify me through the seasons of suff’ring.
When all else around me gives way, you remain.
God, ‘gainst the enemy, you are my buff’ring,
And you will redeem ev’ry moment of pain.

Sharpening

How can I comfort those who mourn
Unless I learn to mourn myself?
For fellowship with those forlorn,
I must be taken from the shelf.
For there I sat so safe and calm,
But there I also gathered dust.
If this, my life, would be a balm,
Then I must learn that God is just
Not just in times of peace and rest,
But in my sorrow, sickness, strife.
If I would follow heaven’s best,
I will not have an easy life.
But through my broken heart, he speaks,
And through my suff’ring, Christ is seen.
If soon, with death, my body reeks,
My soul, by grace through faith, is clean.
So why would I avoid the pain
If, through the turmoil, faith is grown?
The struggle leads to priceless gain
As man’s despair is overthrown.
All things do work together for
The good of those He called in love,
And though we walk the road of war,
God reigns in sov’reignty above.

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The Megaphone

O Pain, the voice that must be heard,
The sound that will not be ignored-
It calls for us to further gird
Our souls with clothing of the Lord.
For we cannot afford to live
Assuming life is only ease.
The sandy ground beneath must give
If we would God’s salvation seize.
And as the dark illusion falls
And we see our mortality,
We find our rest in Kingly halls
With Life for all eternity.

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Purpose in Pain

“Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
Hosea 6:1-3

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Count It All Joy

Oh how quickly we abandon
Our morality and will
When, to our complete confusion,
Circumstances strike us ill.
Ill-advised is our rebellion,
Yet the rebel’s part we play:
From disciple into hellion
When the storm invades the day.
Can we not remember glory,
That our Lord has won the fight?
Do we yet forget the story?
Light has broken through the night!
Suffering is light and fleeting
When compared to Christ above.
No bereavement, bane, or beating
Breaks the grip of God’s great love.
Persecution serves to purge us.
Suffering now sanctifies.
We are bought by Christ’s own purchase,
Seeing now with open eyes.
Therefore, we count joy our sorrow,
Singing praise in deepest pain.
Should we face our death tomorrow,
Even this is wond’rous gain.

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