Geel is a charming town in Belgium with a unique population—a significant percentage of the people there have a diagnosis of mental illness. Host families to these persons are given no details of their guests’ diagnoses. Instead, they welcome their guests into the community like anyone else. “I have seen coffee served in a cafe with as much deference to actively hallucinating psychotics as to anyone else,” one observer described. Not surprisingly, people with mental illness flourish in Geel.
God has told me why your skin cancer hasn’t been healed,” the woman said to my friend. Really? he thought. Having suffered through two failed operations to remove the cancer from his face, my friend was desperate for a reason why. “God has told me it’s one of three things,” she continued. One of three? my friend thought. Even God doesn’t know for sure? “It’s either a generational curse passed down from your parents . . . ” It’s my parent’s fault? “Or it’s a secret sin in your life . . .” Which one? (My friend can be cheeky.) “Or you lack the faith to be healed.”
Have you ever felt as if no one was there for you when you faced a difficult and trying time? Perhaps King David’s words reflect what you were feeling: “I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me” (Psalm 142:4).
O Holy Night” is a Christmas hymn we need to sing loudly. We need to sing it during Advent and Christmas—and if I had my way, we’d belt it out every month of the year. These lines tell us a deep truth:
Q: What can you do when you’ve lost all hope? —Joseph
A: Scripture gives numerous examples of people who’ve struggled with feelings of hopelessness (1 Kings 19:4; Psalm 22:11; Isaiah 53:10; Lamentations 1:12; Jonah 2:1-5; Matthew 27:46; 2 Corinthians 1:8; Hebrews 11:35-40).
When the apostle Paul struggled with profoundly disappointing circumstances and anguished over personal struggles with sin to the point…
This world is fallen and full of suffering. The decaying of this earth is evident all around us, even though todays science tries to convince us that the earth started out as decay and has progressed to its current “superiority.” Most of our life’s mission is to remove suffering from mankind. We have decided that with enough education and control…
There was a time, deep into my walk with Jesus, when life became extremely difficult. I told a friend that I felt like a mouse, batted back and forth between the paws of a cat that was toying with his victim before making the final blow.
Q: Would you recommend to a family member or friend who is struggling with depression to take an anti-depressant? —Grace
A: It’s important to understand that many things can trigger a bout with depression. Consequently, multiple causes call for multiple treatments. The possibilities certainly include the use of anti-depressants.
At the very least, it would be good for a person who…
I’ve been inspired by the book The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons. One of its most profound messages is that Christians who are serious about restoring the broken are not “offended” by their depraved lifestyles. Rather than condemn and pull away from people whose lives are messed up after years of drug abuse, sexual immorality, or greedy materialism, Lyons says we should meet people where they are. This includes reaching out and offering the hope of restoration found in Jesus.
It was the kind of eatery where you stand in line, place your order, and then step aside to wait for your food to appear. After I did just that, a young man took my place in front of the cash register. He ordered his food by using gestures and broken words. Paying was difficult for him, because one of his wrists was turned so that his fingers pointed back to his body. And walking to a table meant overcoming the uneven function of his legs. This young man struggled physically, yet courageously.
Q: Why does it seem like people who are not Christians have cancer and live, and ones who are Christians get cancer and die? I'm confused. —Patricia
A: Some religions teach that the suffering we experience in this life is retribution for things we did in former lives. A big difference between Christianity and these other religions is that it doesn’t…
As I reflect on the horrid event that occurred at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut (US), I am truly saddened that there apparently was no one in this young man’s life that recognized and acted on the level of turmoil he was enduring. It also occurs to me that this level of despair is potentially present in our own…