hope schooled by medicine,” saysnHauerwas, “a world that promises ton’solve’ suffering by eliminating its causes.”nRather than off^ering comfort innthe context of a world view formed bynChristian faith, modern medicine offersnhealing in a world without context.nControl over the causes of suffering,nnot comfort in light of suffering, is thenpromise of modern science. Modernnman has a new god, one born in thenEnlightenment, killed a short timenlater, and resurrected as modernnscience — a god whose purpose is notnto offer explanations to the communitynof faith, or to search for knowledge innsome defined context—but to offernsolutions to everyone. When thosen”solutions” fail, we ask why God hasnfailed.nHauerwas thinks it is no accidentnthat the very notion of theodicy arosenat the same time as modern medicine.nModern science is not interested innknowledge of the world, but in controlnover it. It is not really “science” whichnknows, but “technique” which controls.nWhen it cannot control thenworld — and illness is the starkest remindernthat it cannot—modern sciencenneeds an explanation, it needs tonbe justified in its failure. Before thisnmodern idea of control over nature andnnature’s embarrassing anomalies, nonone expected a life without suffering,nand thus no one asked for explanationsnof suffering. “It never occurred to thenearfy Christians to question their beliefnin God or even God’s goodness becausenthey were unjustly suffering forntheir beliefs,” Hauerwas explains.n”Rather, their faith gave them directionnin the face, of persecution andngeneral misfortune. Suffering was not anmetaphysical problem needing a solution,nbut a practical challenge requiringna response.” Suffering was expected asnpart of the human condition; it wasnborn in a particular context; and it wasndealt with pastorally, not apologetically.nBut not now. Now we think thatnsickness should not exist becausenwe think of it as something innwhich we can intervene andnwhich we can ultimatelyneliminate. Sickness challengesnour most cherished presumptionnthat we are or at least can be inncontrol of our existence.n32/CHRONICLESnSickness creates the problem ofn”anthropodicy” because itnchallenges our most preciousnand profound belief thatnhumanity has in fact becomengod. Against the backdrop ofnsuch belief, we conclude thatnsickness should not exist.nAnd when it does exist, we must asknourselves why “god” allows it.nHauerwas contends that Christiansnare bothered by the modern questionnof theodicy because we have acceptednEnlightenment liberalism’s rulesnof the game. In accepting its notions ofnscience and individualism, modernnChristians adhere to the presuppositionsnof a worid view consistently at odds withnthe Christian one. An abstract need ton”explain” suffering in universal termsn”is to underwrite the Enlightenmentnassumption that we are most fully ourselvesnwhen we are free of all traditionsnand communities other than those wenhave chosen from the position of completenautonomy. In such a context,nsuffering cannot help but appear absurd,nsince it always stands as a threat tonautonomy.”nThis autonomy applies not just tonpeople, but to medicine as well. Medicinenis part of modern science, which isnabout control, not knowledge; aboutnmeans-end rationality, not about explanation.nModern medicine has no narrativencontext which supply guidelines fornits purpose and value. It is “valueneutral,”nunencumbered by questionsnof what “ought” to be done or—morenimportantly—what “ought not” to bendone. The Enlightenment mind-set assertsnautonomy and individual control.nIt tells us that we have a right not to bensick, and a right to be cured if the firstnright is violated. As a result, says Hauerwas,n”we have come to believe thatnwhat can be done medically ought to bendone. Medicine has become our meansnof overcoming our ‘fragility.'” Whennmedicine fails, it causes a crisis of faithn— faith in what we often call “god.”nSo why do good people ^especiallynchildren—suffer? “I have no answer tonthe question of why children suffer,”nsays Hauerwas, “because I do not wantnto grant the presuppositions that oftenngive rise to such questions.” He doesnsuggest, though, why the suffering ofnchildren bothers us especially, and in sonnndoing Hauerwas suggests the recoverynof a Christian understanding of illnessnand pain.nPut simply, the suffering of childrennis especially perplexing because we recognizenthat children have not had thenchance to live a life, and thus to have anstory. When a child dies, we really donnot know who has died, because “who”nthe child is has not yet been determined.n”As adults we may respondnmore or less well to our illness, but atnleast the illness seems to have a contextn—we can make it part of our ongoingnstory.” Not so with children. To thenextent that they have a context to beginnwith, we usually think that they are notnable to understand it, or to incorporate itninto an account of their suffering. For anchild, it just hurts.nBut it is not only children who do notnhave a story out of which to make sensenof their suffering. Hauerwas contendsnthat none of us do — or that if we do,nwe set it aside when we think aboutnthings as illness and suffering. Illness isnan effrontery to us, not because it shakesnour belief in God, but because ournbelief in God has not been sufficientlyngrounded in the story of who God is:nthe Christian God who presented Himselfninitially in the story of the Cross,nand thence in the story of the Church.nIn the least well-developed but mostnintuitively compelling part of the book,nHauerwas contends that the ancientnHebrews and Christians were nevernconcerned with abstract questions aboutnwhy God “allowed” suffering. If theynrecognized sin in the camp, they triednto root it out; if they did not have suchnan explanation, their purpose was toncomfort one another, not to explainnsuffering away. These early believersnnever recognized a promise that theynought not suffer, nor made an abstractnclaim against God when they did. Rather,nthey saw their lives as rooted in ancommunity formed by a story of a Godnwho acts in history to comfort hisnafflicted. This is not merely a God whonis able to suffer with us, or understandsnour suffering, but a God who callsnpeople to himself in a community ofnsharers of suffering. (This did not precludenmedicine, of course, but it sawnmedicine as comforting, not curing.nThe predisposition of pre-modern medicinenwas not to act, and when actionnwas indicated the purpose was care, notncure.)n