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The Table Video

Lynn Underwood& Array Array

Hope, Suffering, & the Search for Good

Senior Research Scholar, Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University
Professor of Psychology at Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University
June 9, 2017

Hope, Suffering, & the Search for Good


One thought that I have is, of course, it goes back again to how we define the good, right? So, we might have certain conceptions of what the good is. We might be very clear in our minds about what would be a good outcome, right? And, I think that part of understanding that verse is understanding that God’s notion of turning something to good, might not necessarily be the good that we would envision in the situation.

And so part of building into or learning what that verse really means in our individual suffering, is being shaped so that what we hope for and long for is the same thing that God hopes for and longs for for us. So, that’s part of it. I think that it’s very deeply tied into the eschatological hope though. The biblical terminology for it, the term that’s used, again and again and again, has to do with glorification, something about us, ultimately, showing more and more who God is.

Evan: Yeah. Which is going to happen in it’s perfection at the end of time. Along with Christ as he comes again, in all his glory.

But, I think that there are twinges of that. There are pieces of that that happen in the movement. That what we’ve been calling post traumatic growth, or growth through suffering can be thought of as the shapings of the glorification process. I think that’s the picture that we get from scripture.

It’s the story of redemption


I might add, too a quote that seems to fit quite well here by Václav Havel, the Cxech President and playwright. Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. Just another thing to add here. Which is to say that it’s to pry apart our conception of the good, something turned out well from meaning, making sense of that.


We see the place of certain kinds of events, or certain experiences, in some broader plan. Some broader story that we’re a part of.