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Archive for January, 2013

Crisis Cleaning

Housecleaning

I can testify that this really works.

I have used this FlyLady method many times.  It helps me maximize my time and the rolling schedule keeps me motivated.  I needed to crisis clean more often when my kids were younger (and at home), but I still use the frame when a holiday is approaching and I need to get my cleaning done and out of the way to focus on the rest of the holiday preparations.  If you haven’t visited FlyLady’s site, treat yourself to her Flying Lessons here.  I offer her crisis cleaning method in her own words.

  1. Get dressed to shoes, have your hair fixed and face washed and makeup on (if you use it). Don’t question this — just do it. Put on some good working music. Not too fast, just slow and steady. Peppy, but not aerobic. Light a candle that has a good scent or put some spices on to boil on a very low heat.
  2. Set a timer and spend 15 minutes in the kitchen.  We are going to start in our kitchens, because as the kitchen goes, so does the rest of the house. If your sink is not clean and shiny, then shine it first, then you can fill the sink up with hot soapy water and start to clear off the left and right counters. Empty the dishwasher. When the timer goes off, stop what you are doing and go to the living room.
  3. Set the timer again and do 15 minutes of cleaning off the coffee tables or picking up toys or newpapers. Concentrate on one thing, not all of it. Get a laundry basket and put the things that don’t belong in the living room in the basket. Take a garbage bag with you, too. Start throwing away the trash. Don’t get caught up in the guilt we have about recycling this stuff. Just bag it up for now. As you get your home in order, there will be plenty of time to recycle. For now, we are focusing on getting the home presentable. You can’t do this if you are hyperfocusing on sorting and recycling, so get over this perfectionism attitude. When the timer goes off, head back to the kitchen.
  4. In the kitchen, set the timer for 15 more minutes and continue to work on clearing the counters. Don’t get sidetracked and attempt to clean out a cabinet. We’re only doing surface cleaning here. We’re making your home presentable, not perfect.
  5. Now, take a break and walk around and look at what you have accomplished in just 45 minutes. Set the timer for 15 minutes and drink a cup of tea or coffee or whatever you love and just relax. When the timer goes off, you are back in work mode for 15 more minutes.
  6. This 15 minute session is in the bathroom. Clean the bathroom sink first, swish the toilet, then pick up towels and dirty clothes and put them in the hamper.  Once again, don’t get sidetracked and start a load of laundry. You need a clean bathroom before you need clean clothes! The laundry will come later.
  7. When the timer goes off, you are back in the kitchen for 15 more minutes. After the counters are cleared, sweep the floor and wipe down the countertops and appliances. We can do anything in 15 minutes! Keep working until the timer goes off. Then you go to the living room once again.
  8. In the living room, continue to pick up and put away. Once everything is in its place, vacuum and dust.
  9. Every 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break. Rotate around the house every 15 minutes. Do you understand this?

FlyLady concludes, “Adapt this schedule to fit your physical limitations and children’s needs. But, you get the picture: stay focused on one job for 15 minutes, then move onto another. You are going to be so surprised at how much you get done in a day’s time!

“The timer is your best friend. You can do this. Now turn off the computer and get to work!”

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pilgrims progress

And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me? who caused his pain! For me? who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be that thou, my God, shoulds’t die for me?

He left his Father’s throne above (so free, so infinite his grace!)
Emptied himself of all but love and bled for Adam’s helpless race.
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, for O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray; I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off, my heart was free. I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

No condemnation now I dread. Jesus, and all in him, is mine.
Alive in him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine;
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne and claim the crown through Christ my own.

[Text: Charles Wesley]

Dana and I were asked to write our “God story” this week in our application for membership to a church we’ve been attending now for 2½ years.  May God alone receive all the glory in the telling of it.

Dana

I was raised in a Christian home by believing parents who taught us the Truth from our earliest ages. Besides teaching and living the Word at home and bringing us to church every week, they often brought us to hear various speakers. When I was a preschooler, I think it was late Fall in 1965, we went to hear Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of Voice of the Martyrs, speak. He had recently been ransomed from a Communist prison after many years. I recall that Pastor Wurmbrand gave a clear Gospel message and ended with an alter call. Even as a preschooler I felt very drawn to step out and go forward. I did not, however. During the car ride home I talked to my mother about what I had felt and recall saying something to the effect that, “I bet that was the Holy Spirit wasn’t it?”

My parents had taught us enough that even as a preschooler I knew that God worked in us through the Holy Spirit. I had never actually “heard” and personally experienced Him until then.

My memory is not absolutely clear on the chronology, but sometime soon thereafter, possibly that night, as I was going to sleep I prayed and confessed my sin and asked Christ to be my savior. I was filled with the sweetest sense of well being a 3 or 4 year old could imagine. I can’t say that I sky rocketed in growth and maturity. I would say I grew in the Lord in rather quiet, steady manner.

The story of my regeneration is not dramatic in the way of some who live many years outside of Christ before being saved. I didn’t “get into any trouble” and was what most would call a “good Christian boy.” I did, however, fail to integrate in practical ways the truth of my salvation with my life. I knew I was saved and why, but this truth had not yet fully broken into my perception in a way that connected the material world I lived in with the eternal reality of my heavenly home (if that makes sense).

When I was a sophomore in college I acquired my first study Bible and began to read the Word for myself with more regularity. The Fall of that school year I went with Kim (now my wife) to see a Billy Graham movie. I think it was The Prodigal. I recall thinking that it was “OK”, but not being super “wowed” by it. However, after the show Kim and I went for a walk and I began to be struck by how little thought I ever gave God most days. I recall crying and crying and saying that, “I’m so far from him so much of the time.” Some might say that’s when I was born again, but I know that happened when I was a little child. I think that God said, “It’s time to grow up now, Dana, and get to know me and learn to live with me and for me.”

That was probably what a lot of people call “recommitting” their lives to God. For me it just felt like a crushing sorrow over the great ungrateful neglect with which had treated my Savior who so loving called me those years earlier.

Since being saved as a little boy, and more so after my deeper awakening that Fall, I would say that God has steadily grown Himself in me and opened my eyes to see him at work in my life more and more and my ears to hear him more and more. He has kept me from a great many griefs that I know my unsaved nature would have willingly run into had the Spirit not been in me to direct my way. In particular, He has placed in me a love for and joy in His Word. I love to read it, hear it preached, study it with others and help others grow in their comprehension, appropriation, and application of it. In more recent years He has been opening my eyes more and more to apprehend the beauty and magnitude of His grace toward me in the gospel. Instead of growing accustomed to grace, I’m more and more awed and likely to be moved to tears over it.

By God’s unilateral grace, I live in the blessed assurance of seeing Christ face to face and spending eternity in his presence because Jesus paid the penalty for my sin, bearing the full wrath of God until it was completed. I know that God accepted Christ’s death as my substitute for my sin debt because this was validated by Jesus’ resurrection when “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” Jesus had no sin of his own, so having fully born the wrath for mine it was not possible that death should hold him. Jesus’ resurrection is proof that my sin has been paid for. Since “there is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, and I am in Christ by faith in his death and resurrection on my behalf and by the grace of His call, there is no basis for keeping me from the promised inheritance.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:16-18

Kim

I have had a reverence for God and a love for Jesus since my childhood and I knew that Jesus had died for my sins; but in fact, I did not know how to appropriate his death to my sins.  The denomination of which I was a part taught that I and all others in the church became members of God’s family upon our baptism as infants in that church.  This denomination also taught a works-oriented religion meant to keep us in good standing before God.  My hope was in clean, devout living and regular church attendance.

When I was in elementary school, I remember responding to a televised Billy Graham crusade and writing to receive follow-up materials.  When I was in high school I received a small New Testament/Psalms/Proverbs from the Gideons.  I began to read it on the bus in the mornings on my way to school.  That was an exciting time.  I did not understand everything I was reading, but the Word of God was giving me a sense of joy and wonder as the light of truth began to peak through the darkness of my understanding of God.

It was in college, however, that I was born again.  I had been reading a book entitled Why I am a Lutheran to better understand the denomination my boyfriend (and future husband) belonged to at the time.  It was in that book in the Sears break room during my lunch hour that I first read Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And that not of yourself; it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

The Holy Spirit used this key Scripture to impress upon me my inability to contribute anything toward my salvation.  Just as “something like scales” fell from the apostle Paul’s eyes and he was filled with the Holy Spirit and could see; I, too, experienced scales of darkened understanding falling away.  I was filled with the Holy Spirit (not in a charasmatic manner) and only then could I see the gospel clearly.  I understood then that my salvation was solely secured by a trust-worthy and able God.

I remember a loop repeating over and over in my mind, “He did it all…God does everything…there’s nothing I can do!”  Like those referred to in Hebrews 4:2-3, the good news had come to me in the past as to others, but the message I heard had not benefited me, because I did not combine it with faith.  Still striving in the flesh, I was kept from God’s “rest” (Hebrews 4:9-10).  Just as the Hebrews in Egypt needed to actually take the blood and apply it to their doorposts to be saved, I finally understood how to apply Jesus’ death to my sins—through faith and faith alone.  I understood then that all of the work of my salvation had been done by God himself.  “Jesus paid it all.  All to him I owe.”

When I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as the only means to rid myself of the eternal punishment that hung over me, the Holy Spirit set his seal on me.  I had been justly held responsible for my sins which are an affront to the very nature and character of our holy Creator.  However, wonder of wonders, the sinless Jesus became my sin while on the cross and bore the punishment that was to be mine.  He bore all the wrath of the Father in my place until it was completely spent, leaving nothing but God’s propitiousness toward me.  What’s more, this God who had seemed distant and “other,” came near to me and revealed himself as an intimate, knowable Father.

I have walked as a new creation ever since.  I was given a new heart with a fixed allegiance to love and serve God and I was given a new mind to discern God’s Word and his ways. My inner self is being renewed day by day and I believe by faith that I am being conformed to the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

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Floral books 3

“To be…a chuser of books! And to be having any one’s improvement in view in her choice!” So marvels Jane Austen’s good heroine, Fanny Price, as she rhapsodizes about the opportunities to improve oneself by being a renter…“a chuser [sic] of books” from a circulating library.

Agreed.  To read the writings of the world’s great thinkers and to read the great literature of the western world is to understand the genesis and progression of modern philosophy, religions, language, and science; to observe constants in human nature; to learn from those who have preceded us, both of the truths they illustrated and the errors of which they theorized; it is to see the glory of God reflected in his image bearers as they display their God-given abilities of reason and thought as well as language, spiritual understanding and creativity.

A similar enthusiasm to Fanny’s goal of self-improvement and an accompanying desire to continue to learn new things all my life, if the Lord gives me capacity, is reflected in two items on my biblio-dream list (which is several steps removed from a wish list).  There are several “classics” collections out there (i.e. Barnes and Noble’s for one) and any number of those titles might be on my wish list, but because of their price, these two collections wait on my dream list—the Harvard Classics and the Yale Shakespeare, 40-volume set.

Harvard-Classics

Harvard Classics

Collier's Junior ClassicsThe Harvard Classics collection is a 51-volume set (above) published by P.F. Collier.  I suspect Collier modeled his own Collier’s Junior Classics after the Harvard Classics.  These beloved Junior Classics (mostly abridged classics) presently stand erect on my bookshelf and bring back good, warm, childhood memories.

The Harvard anthology was originally called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf and its authors read like a character list from Lost.  According to Wikipedia, Harvard University President, Charles W. Eliot (1869 – 1909), averred that “the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf (originally he had said a three-foot shelf).”

To be a collector of books is both a blessing and a curse as it is very difficult for a collector to satisfy himself only with the volumes he’s likely to read.  Not only must the covers match but the set must be complete.  It does not matter if the title is the only thing that will be read of some volumes (i.e. volume 30 for me); the set must have all the volumes in order to be completely worthwhile.

Also, half the fun of collecting books in my opinion is the vision of their faded, but matching covers, beautifully aligned together on one’s bookshelf. For the little less compulsive though, for those whom the bookshelf vision is not a driving force, Bartleby.com provides the Harvard Classics free online and this may be where I myself will have to begin.

What riches do the Harvard Classics contain?  Check it out—

Great Books of the Western WorldEncyclopædia Britannica seems to have used the Harvard Classics as a springboard for their Great Books of the Western World collection, published in 1952. Wikipedia tells us that University of Chicago president Robert Hutchins and Mortimer Adler collaborated to develop a course, “generally aimed at businessmen, for the purpose of filling in gaps in education, to make one more well-rounded” and familiar with the great ideas of the past three millennia.  Hutchins clearly saw the finished work as something much more though, calling the collection an “act of piety.”  He said, “Here are the sources of our being. Here is our heritage. This is the West. This is its meaning for mankind.”

Because the Harvard Classics were published in 1909, they necessarily omit most 20th century works.  The Great Books were criticized for the same reason.  So in 1990, Encyclopædia Britannica published a second edition which added and subtracted from some of the volumes of the previous edition and added 6 more volumes of material covering the 20th century.

There are many overlapping works and authors in the Harvard Classics and The Great Books, but for my money, I am drawn more to the body of titles in the Harvard Classics.  Although the second edition of the Great Books offers Alexis de Tocqueville and Calvin’s Institutes, I am not persuaded by the addition of the 20th century material; much of the subject matter covered in these titles is just unalluring to me.   Also, since many of these works are still in the realm of modern discourse, it is likely one has already brushed up against the truly great ones in his reading of current events or casual discussions or school assignments.  No, my choice would be the Harvard Classics above either edition of the Great Books.

Yale Shakespeare

Yale Shakespeare

The 2nd collection on my Dream List is the Yale Shakespeare, 40-volume set.  I ran across an incomplete set of these beautiful, perfectly-sized books with their pale blue covers and gilt lettering in a local antique store. I continue to enjoy the idea of a complete set adorning my bookshelf, standing at the ready whenever a comedy or a tragedy might be required.

The 40 volumes of the Yale Shakespeare include:

  • Shakespeare of Stratford (which I take to be a biography);
  • Shakespeare’s Sonnets;
  • “Venus and Adonis, “Lucrece,” and the Minor Poems;
  • All’s Well That Ends Well;
  • As You Like It;
  • The Comedy of Errors;
  • King Henry the Fourth (part I);
  • King Henry the Fourth (part II);
  • King Henry the Sixth (part I);
  • King Henry the Sixth (part II);
  • King Henry the Sixth (part III);
  • The Life of Henry the Fifth;
  • The Life and Death of King John;
  • The Life of King Henry the Eighth;
  • The Life of Timon of Athens;
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost;
  • Measure for Measure;
  • The Merchant of Venice;
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor;
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream;
  • Much Ado About Nothing;
  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre;
  • The Taming of the Shrew;
  • The Tempest;
  • The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra;
  • The Tragedy of Coriolanus;
  • The Tragedy of Cymbeline;
  • The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark;
  • The Tragedy of Julius Caesar;
  • The Tragedy of King Lear;
  • The Tragedy of King Richard, the Second;
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth;
  • The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice;
  • The Tragedy of Richard the Third;
  • The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet;
  • The Tragedy of Titus Andronicus;
  • The Tragedy of Troilus and Cressida;
  • Twelfth Night (or What you Will);
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona;
  • The Winter’s Tale

In closing, I share the encouragement of C.S. Lewis to seek the great writers in their own words.  He wrote,There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books…The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator.

“The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.”

Lewis continued, “Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books.”

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winter sunrise I

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  This was the quote from a handmade gift my youngest daughter framed for me this Christmas.

After reading this, I was reminded of all the dog-earred pages I have in our family’s copy of Anne of Green Gables and how much I love, not only the story of this undaunted heroine, but also Lucy Maud Montgomery’s ability to cause me to wonder with delight at this world…something of which I do far too little.  I remarked to Courtney what a beautiful person Lucy Montgomery must have been to be able to see the world in the way her “Anne with an e” describes it to us.

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” Anne exclaims to her staid guardian, Marilla.  It seems a fitting sentiment as we now enter our new year 2013.  Isn’t it nice to think of this new year with no mistakes in it yet?

Who knows what all those little blank calendar squares will contain this year?  Certainly our share of mistakes and our share of challenges.  Perhaps great sorrows?  Hopefully a good smattering of delight and joy.  Whatever may come, we who wait for the LORD may confidently greet each new day afresh with no mistakes in it, knowing God’s mercies are new for us every morning of the year ahead; yes, surely every morning we walk this earth.

And aren’t we glad we live in such a world?

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

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Where is God

Pastor John Piper has asked, “Where was God when so many good things happened this past year?  How can God be a God of justice, yet allow so much good to happen to people who dishonor him by disbelieving in him, or giving lip service to his existence, or paying no more attention to him than the carpet in their den, or rejecting the kingship of his Son, or scorning his word, or preferring a hundred pleasures before him?  How can God be righteous and do so much good to us who are so unrighteous?”  This is the theme of “Where is God? Part I.”

Of course, we all know there is another aspect off of which Piper’s questions play…the problem of evil.  When all the world is shaking its head in horror and disbelief at the evils of our day, the implication most suggested in those words, “Where is God?” is one that attempts to rationalize a good God with the evil we observe.

This question has been asked and attempted to be answered many times throughout the ages.  Where is God when bad things happen?  In a recent essay, Joe Rigney tackles this colossal question, addressing the biblical, philosophical, and emotional aspects of this question by comparing God to human authors and the stories and characters they create.   After identifying and reasonably answering the obvious difficulties one might have with such a comparison (i.e. God being markedly different than a human author and flesh and blood people being markedly different from characters in a book), Rigney’s analogy actually allows one to wrap his or her mind around the conundrum of evil and a sovereign God.

Rigney identifies the age-old philosophical “problem of evil” as the following:

(1) If God is all-knowing, then he knows what evil is.
(2) If God is all-good, then he himself is not evil and he would prevent evil, if he could.
(3) If God is all-powerful, then he can prevent evil.
(4) Evil exists.
(5) Therefore (1), (2), or (3) (or some combination), must be false.

However, examining evil in light of his proposed author-story analogy allows us to see that (1) and (3) clearly hold, but that (2) can be denied.  After all, why does evil exist in an author’s stories?  Rigney argues that God ordains evil “for the same reason that C.S. Lewis creates the White Witch: so that Aslan will have someone to conquer. Evil exists so that Good can triumph. Death exists so that it can be thrown into hell (Rev 20:14). And this does not in any way minimize the wickedness or horror of evil. God is sovereign and evil is real.”

Rigney continues, “God remains all-good even if he allows and ordains evil for his own wise and good purposes. In other words, God may ordain that evil exist because the existence of evil serves some greater good that God has in view.”  The author-story analogy sheds light on how God is not tainted by the evil of his creatures (as a human author, Tom Clancy for example, is not readily considered evil for the evil characters or evil plots he’s included in his novels).  The author-story analogy also sheds light on why God would ordain evil for his own wise purposes (he, like more finite authors, is working out a great and glorious narrative that will ultimately see evil overcome, where the hero will be completely triumphant and reveal himself to a grateful, rescued people who, now on the other side of their sorrows, fully realize the suffering from which they’ve been freed).

“This way of looking at the world allows us to view every part of the story through two lenses: a wide lens and a narrow lens. The narrow lens keeps us from minimizing the reality of evil, as if pain and wickedness were simply illusions. We must never give in to the false logic that says, “Because God ordains all things, there is really no such thing as evil.” The Bible will have nothing to do with such reasoning. Christians do not shrink from calling evil “evil” (Gen 50:20), or calamity “calamity” (Isa 45:7), or disaster “disaster” (Amos 3:6). What’s more, we are called to weep with those who weep, to fight the curse that hangs over this fallen world, and to rage against the darkness with all the power of the light.

“At the same time, we must not elevate evil above its station. Nothing happens apart from God’s wise and good decree. Therefore, we must not stop reading in the early chapters. The story does not stop, and so our wide lens allows us to see, or at least to trust, that Judas’s betrayal will not go unpunished, Wormtongue’s lies will not stand, and the blood of the martyrs will in fact bear fruit. This is a happily-ever-after kind of story. This is the kind of story where dragons are slain and tears are wiped away and faithful death is always followed by resurrection. Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

The thing to be marveled at in the story God is writing is not only that there is purpose in every aspect of life, the good and the evil, but that God, the author, would provide the ultimate, mind-blowing plot twist, in making himself a character in the story he creates.  This is the sort of thing that fascinates us in stories like Tron, the designer becomes a player in his own creation!

“God-as-Author and God-as-Character means that we can view God’s relationship to the world in two complementary ways. On the one hand, he is transcendent and high and lifted up, looking far down upon the children of man. He is the Alpha and Omega, relating to creation a-temporally, outside of time. If history is a great river, he views the entire sweep of it — twists and turns and all — in one comprehensive glance from his heavenly mountain.

“On the other hand, he enters into his story as a character, walking with his creatures and engaging with them as fellow characters, rejoicing over their successes and grieving over their losses. He enters the river and rides the rapids with us, hands waving wildly in the air. This is the God who weeps, the God who repents, the God who changes his mind. This is the God who, though unchanging, becomes flesh and dwells among us.

“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. “

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