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“The Whole of Their Thought”

From Rev. John Odhner, Assistant to the Pastor
January 12, 2021

Last Wednesday evening, my wife and I led the first session of a marriage group. Seven couples checked in, bragged about their partners, and told stories of how they fell in love. It was delightful to talk about being married, with people who love marriage. Our thoughts during that meeting were far from the conflict concurrently playing out in the Capitol.

The following evening I hosted an online discussion that arose out of the Christmas story. Our question was, Since the Lord’s providence is in all details and the Lord is omnipotent, how could the hells gain so much power before the Lord’s coming into the world? That question kept us occupied for two solid hours, thinking about the Lord’s justice and mercy, communing with Him and with each other, and giving thanks for His lately-revealed love and wisdom that nourish us so fully. My closing comment was that for two hours, politics did not enter my mind (as it had so much of the rest of the day).

Living in this world, we experience hell in many ways. This is necessary for our spiritual growth.

It is not because of divine providence that wars happen, because wars are inseparable from murder, plunder, violence, cruelty, and other appalling evils that are diametrically opposed to Christian caring. However, it is absolutely necessary that they be permitted, because… our life’s love has become basically a love of controlling others, ultimately everyone, and of gaining possession of the world’s wealth, ultimately all of it…. Unless evils were allowed to surface, we would not see them and therefore would not admit to them; so we could not be induced to resist them…. From birth, each of us is like a little hell in constant conflict with heaven. The Lord cannot rescue any of us from our hell unless we see that we are in it and want to be rescued. Divine Providence 251

The Lord says that in this world, we will have tribulation. But take heart, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). When the Lord was facing death, falsely accused of fomenting sedition, He said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36)

To those who believe it, the other life is the whole of their thought and affection, and the world is nothing in comparison; but to those who do not believe it, the world is the whole of their thought and affection, and the other life is in comparison nothing. (Secrets of Heaven 2682)


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