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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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No Eden for me

Amid suffering, joyful days remind that God is good and wants good for us

God governs all the laws mixed together — like the stars in the heavens and the flowers in the field — in such a way that at every hour a man must be ready for anything, and do whatever the situation requires" (Preface to the Old Testament in Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings, edited by Timothy F. Lull; Fortress Press, 1989; page 124).

During World War II, C.S. Lewis described the Earth as enemy-occupied territory. Perhaps humans were better off spiritually when evil had a discernible cause — the old devil himself. In the muggy Virginia summer of 2004, I tend to blame the bad not on Satan but on ill-luck, human madness, deficient genes, invading germs or unfortunate timing. Christ came with his message of love into July heat, into a world of apparent hell.God governs all the laws mixed together — like the stars in the heavens and the flowers in the field — in such a way that at every hour a man must be ready for anything, and do whatever the situation requires" (Preface to the Old Testament in Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings, edited by Timothy F. Lull; Fortress Press, 1989; page 124).

During World War II, C.S. Lewis described the Earth as enemy-occupied territory. Perhaps humans were better off spiritually when evil had a discernible cause — the old devil himself. In the muggy Virginia summer of 2004, I tend to blame the bad not on Satan but on ill-luck, human madness, deficient genes, invading germs or unfortunate timing. Christ came with his message of love into July heat, into a world of apparent hell.

I once sent spiritually searching students back to the great books and the writings of the church fathers. In 1946 as a newly married 26-year-old G.I. college freshman, I was profoundly influenced by Robert Browning. The Victorian poet taught me — a child of Depression and war — the joy in the struggle that lies at the root of the game of life. And here I'm still trying to make sense of the Creator's love and justice in the teeth of suffering.

I once sent spiritually searching students back to the great books and the writings of the church fathers. In 1946 as a newly married 26-year-old G.I. college freshman, I was profoundly influenced by Robert Browning. The Victorian poet taught me — a child of Depression and war — the joy in the struggle that lies at the root of the game of life. And here I'm still trying to make sense of the Creator's love and justice in the teeth of
suffering.


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