"[Many Christians] clearly seem to wish to believe there is a divine plan in all the seeming randomness of nature's violence that accounts for every instance of suffering, privation, and loss in a sort of total sum. This is an understandable impulse. That there is a transcendent providence that will bring God's good ends out of the darkness of history - in spite of every evil - no Christian can fail to affirm. But providence (as even Voltaire seems to have understood) is not simply a 'total sum' or 'infinite equation' that leaves nothing behind."
"Yes, certainly, there is nothing, not even suffering or death, that cannot be providentially turned toward God's good ends. But the New Testament also teaches us that, in another and ultimate sense, suffering and death - considered in themselves - have no true meaning or purpose at all; and this is in a very real sense the most liberating and joyous wisdom that the gospel imparts."
- David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami?
(Eerdmans: 2005), 29, 35.