Suffering In Robert Farrar Capon's The Book Of Job

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When I was a kid, I foolishly prayed for pain, knowing “that the testing of [my] faith produces endurance,” leading to perfection and completion (James 1:2-4). Feeling blessed like Job, I wanted to prove myself, but I realize now that only fools pray for pain. Nonetheless, he is a fool who has never experienced true anguish. Instead, I should have prayed for wisdom, understanding that God may pour it down from heaven in the form of pain. This juxtaposition of a loving and all-powerful Creator with the presence of evil perplexes theologians and philosophers alike, but Robert Farrar Capon suggests that “If God seems to be in no hurry to make the problem of evil go away, maybe we shouldn’t be, either … Maybe… evil is where we meet God.”
The book of Job is an encouraging testament to the suffering soul, but anyone who would seek out Job’s pain for himself is beyond ascetic. He is morbid, wretched, and dangerously deluded. Suffering accomplished by internal motivation bears no goodness or
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The former, when armed hastily, dissolves hastily, but the latter produces increasing dependence on the Lord. To this point, I’ve argued that there is meaning in all suffering—not only when we can’t understand it, but especially when we can’t understand it. However, not all suffering is impermanent, and if anguish is everlasting, it cannot produce the goodness which makes it somewhat bearable. This morning I attended Jonathan Storment’s lecture on apologetics. His concept of eternal damnation intrigued me: “The fires of hell are started by the hands of men,” he said. Gehenna (Jesus’s word for “hell”) refers to the place where Hebrews sacrificed their children to idols, and judgement day will come when those in Gehenna are no longer allowed back into Jerusalem. God denies them His presence because they are incapable of giving up their autonomy, incapable of surrendering their sinfulness to embrace His

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