Saturday, March 21, 2009

When bad things happen to good people

I recently read a sermon by my friend Galen Greenwalt of Riverside, California. Galen and I worked at Glorieta, New Mexico the summer of 1966 at a Southern Baptist retreat center. Galen is a good man, having devoted his life to living out the gospel in his community. He has lived among and ministered to "the least of these," as the Bible might put it.

I'm sure it came as a shock to him when he suffered a heart attack a few weeks ago. Here was a man doing God's work. If God has to visit a heart attack on someone, why one of his most devoted servants?

This was the subject of Galen's sermon. Why do the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer?

I would offer my own explanation for God's refusal to intervene.

There is no God available to intervene. This lets God off the hook. No need to question why a nonexistent deity fails to act to do the right thing.

I know this explanation will not sit well with Galen. I wish I had the opportunity to read and discuss with Galen some books from my library. I would be willing to do the same with him and his library.

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