Wednesday, February 13, 2008

God's Power in the Darkness

I just finished reading an excellent book last night. It is one that had been recommended to me many times and perhaps because of the many recommendations I had held off on reading it until now. But this book overwhelmed me again and again by its testimonies of God's love and power, much like The Cross and the Switchblade has done as I've read and re-read that book. The book is The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. If you've read my blog for very long, you know that one of the philosophical issues I'm most interested in is the problem of theodicy, that is, justifying a good and all-powerful God in a world where so many horrible evils occur. I feel like this book adds something to the whole theodicy conversation. It is clear that God was at work even in the midst of the worst evil of the last century. God did not step in and limit the freedom of the Nazis as they committed their heinous crimes but God did use those who would be obedient even to the point of death to save some of His chosen people, the Jews, and to bring comfort and salvation to some of those in concentration camps who were about to go to the gas chambers. I was struck by the centrality of Scripture for the ten Boom family, how the Bible was the authority when it came to life and belief. I was also struck by a statement by Caspar, Corrie's father when, as a little girl, she asked him what "sexual sin" was. Caspar said something like, that is a knowledge that is too dark for you to be burdened with. Later that same line of thought is applied by Corrie to the problem of evil itself. I think that is one of the hardest things for us in this scientific age to accept that in this life we may not get pat and satisfying answers to our deepest, darkest questions. Even in the midst of this ambiguity we must find the ability to live a life of trust in God. If we can't learn to live with the things that don't make sense, I think we can only go down the road of despair or of dishonesty where we try to convince ourselves that the easy answers really satisfy us. When it comes to things like horrible diseases or the holocaust, no answer really satisfies me. But we must continue on, seeking to bring God's light, love and healing into the dark places and believing that these "present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is not related to your Feb 13 post at all but I just had to leave a comment after accidentally stumbling on your blog. It's such an unusual combination of things that are also part my life. :) I noticed you had a couple of posts about the OALC, as well as about the Orthodox church, icons on the front page, and pictures of scenic northwestern mountains. Me: I was raised in the OALC, am Eastern Orthodox now, + I've got family in Clark county, where I've spent a lot of time.

hibernatus_fin@yahoo.com

Matthew J. Perkins said...

Hey hibernatus,
It sounds like you've had a very interesting journey. I hope that you will receive God's blessings in Orthodoxy. One of my best friends from seminary became Orthodox and has certainly been blessed by God there. I considered it and depending on what the Lord may reveal to me, perhaps I will again but right now I am happy to be in an Anglican church.
God bless you.

Anonymous said...

You are welcome any time! :) We need people like you. But I guess the Anglican church might need people like you, too. :) Based on my own experience I can warmly recommend the Orthodox church, I love it more and more every day. But hey, I don't want to proselytize other Christians. ;) May God lead you where He wants you to be.

By the way, did you know there are also Western rite Orthodox? Many of them actually use a rite that is very similar to the Anglican rite.

Your blog seems interesting. I haven't read everything yet, but I've learnt a lot already. Keep on posting! I don't know much about the Anglican church. I've been to a few Anglican services and know some basic history stuff + I've read about the contemporary problems there, but other than that my knowledge is very limited.

I was very impressed by your insight on the OALC. Most "insiders" wouldn't be able to give such a detailed description.

hibernatus

polypay said...

Matthew,
When I was in college, I saw the movie based on The Hiding Place. It had such an impact on the group of people in the theatre that when the lights came on at the end of the movie, no one moved for several minutes and most were in tears. It is an awesome story.
Love,
Mom