Daily Light – Jan 18, 2018

Your daily goal:

Philippians 3:14  “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”   

(Monday-Friday, from my morning quiet time, I will write a short thought for that day which I pray God will use to motivate you to ‘GO’ for that day.  Your objective is simple…to GO…to GO OUT and share the love of Christ with someone in that day….to GO and bear fruit …to be light to the world.)

Today’s Daily Light

Final part of 9 part article….

Biblical, Philosophical, and Emotional Reflections on a Perpetual Question

By:  Joe Rigney, Professor, Bethlehem College and Seminary

Confronting the Problem(s) of Evil      Part IX

Which brings us to Christmas. This is what the Incarnation is all about: the Author of the story becoming not just a character, but a human character. In this narrative, God is the storyteller and the main character. He is the Bard and the hero. He authors the fairy tale and then comes to kill the dragon and get the girl.

The Incarnation is God’s definitive answer to the emotional problem of evil. The living God is not a detached observer or absentee landlord. He doesn’t stand aloof from the suffering and pain and evil that forms the central tension of his epic. The God who is born is also the God who bleeds, the God who dies, the God who identifies with our sorrows by becoming the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief.

God comes down, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and draws to himself all of the sin and the shame, the rebellion and the hate, the sickness and the death, and swallows it whole. And he swallows it by letting it swallow him. The Dragon is crushed in the crushing of the Prince of Peace. The triumphant hour of darkness and evil occurs on the day we know as Good Friday.

This biblical paradigm frees Rachel to lament when Herod slays her little children, to weep that her little ones are no more, knowing that God is weeping with her, shedding Christmas tears of sovereign mercy. And it does so without removing the soul-anchoring consolation that the Author of this story has good and wise purposes in writing his story in the way that he does. We desperately need both aspects of the analogy. We need a Sovereign Author who crafts each chapter, paragraph, and sentence (no matter how horrible) into a fitting narrative, one in which evil exists to be crushed underfoot. And we need a Consoling Character, a very present help who identifies and suffers with the brokenhearted, entering into our pain and loss with love that will endure long after the last tear falls.

Because in the story God is telling, evil does not have the last word. Good Friday is not the end (which is why it’s so good). He burst from the spiced tomb on Resurrection Sunday, commissioned his disciples, and ascended to his throne, where now he sits until all of his enemies are subdued under his feet, including and especially Evil.

This then is the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Christian answer to the problem(s) of evil. It is the confession of Jesus Christ, the Divine Author who never himself does evil, but instead conquers all evil by enduring the greatest evil, and thereby delivers all those enslaved and oppressed by evil who put their hope in him.

O Come, O Come Immanuel.  (End of article).

 

And there we have it….a 9 course meal…..I plan to re-read this article a couple times a year ‘so that’ I can retain the key ideas in Joe’s work and reflection… ‘so that’ I can retain readiness in sufficient understanding to encourage and help those people I meet in life who need help thinking through the biblical and philosophical and emotional components that present themselves with the context and subject of ‘evil’.

I pray that God has stretched your understanding on this subject…and that at a minimum it has caused you to think and reflect on the ‘sovereignty of God as revealed to us in His word and in Creation… ‘so that’ you will grow in your delight in the ‘all’ of who HE is to us and for us.   He is the way, the truth, and the light…that is what He is ‘to’ us.   And He alone is our Savior and the only path to eternal salvation..and that is what He did ‘for’ us.  Amen

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