YOU have asked me, Lucilius, why, if the world be ruled by providence, so many evils befall good men? The answer to this would be more conveniently given in the course of this work, after we have proved that providence governs the universe, and that God is amongst us: but, since you wish me to deal with one point apart from the whole, and to answer one replication before the main action has been decided, I will do what is not difficult, and plead the cause of the gods.
And then he launches into defending God's benevolence. Good fathers are stern. In fact, it's a sign of God's favor that you of all people are suffering. It means he thinks you are worth it...[more to come]