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February 13th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

My Faith: Suffering my way to a new tomorrow

Editor's Note: Rob Bell is the Founding Pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His latest book and DVD are called Drops Like Stars.

By Rob Bell, Special to CNN

One Friday evening in the fall of my senior year of college I got a headache.

I took some aspirin, laid on the couch, and waited for it to go away. But it didn't; it got worse. By midnight I was in agony, and by 3 a.m. I was wondering if I was going to die.

As the sun rose, my roommate drove me to the hospital where I learned that I had viral meningitis. A neurologist explained to me that the fluid around my brain had become infected and was essentially squeezing my brain against the walls of my skull.

So that's what that was.

The doctor informed me that it would take a number of weeks in bed to recover.

This didn't fit with my plan.

I was in a band at the time. We'd been playing shows in the Chicago area for a while and had just landed our biggest club dates yet in the city - all of them scheduled over the next several weeks.

We had to cancel all of them.

As this reality hit me, laying there in that hospital bed miles from home with a brain infection, I distinctly remember asking no one in particular "Now what?"

I was devastated. This was not how it was supposed to go. The band was my life, my future, my singular focus. We had just canceled our biggest gigs ever. Eventually I recovered enough to return to school but things weren't the same. Whatever had been driving us in the band wasn't there like it had been before and so we came to the mutual conclusion that it had been great while it lasted and now it was time for the band to come to an end.

I don't think I'd ever felt more lost. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I had all this energy and passion and I wanted desperately to give myself to something that mattered, but I had no plan.

I would walk around campus in a daze, muttering the same prayer over and over, which took the form of "Now what?"

Do you know that feeling when you're playing soccer and you lunge for the ball but you aren't fast enough and the player on the other team has already kicked it quite hard and the ball travels with ferocious velocity and force into your groin region and you keel over, gasping for breath, your voice several octaves higher?

It was like the existential version of that.

And then, things took a strange, beautiful turn.

In the days and weeks following the band's breakup, people I barely knew would stop me out of the blue and say things like, "Have you thought about being a pastor?" Friends I hadn't talked to in months would contact me and say, "For some reason I think you're going to be a pastor."

Me, a pastor? Seriously?

The idea began to get a hold of me and it wouldn't let go. A calling welled up within me, a direction, something I could give myself to.

I tell you this story about what happened to me 19 years ago because I assume you're like me - really good at making plans and plotting and scheming and devising just how to make your life go how it's "supposed" to go.

We are masters of this. We know exactly how things are supposed to turn out.

And then we suffer. There's a disruption - death, disease, job loss, heartbreak, betrayal or  bankruptcy.

The tomorrow we were expecting disappears. And we have no other plan.

Suffering is traumatic and awful and we get angry and we shake our fists at the heavens and we vent and rage and weep. But in the process we discover a new tomorrow, one we never would have imagined otherwise.

I have interacted with countless people over the years who, when asked to identify key moments, turning points, and milestones in their lives, usually talk about terribly difficult, painful things. And they usually say something along the lines of "I never would have imagined that would happen to me."

Imagined is a significant word here. Suffering, it turns out, demands profound imagination. A new future has to be conjured up because the old future isn't there anymore.

Now I realize that what happened to me - the fluid around my brain swelling up and squeezing it against the walls of my skull - is nothing compared to the pain and tragedy many people live with every day.

But that experience irrevocably altered my life. Nothing was ever the same again. My plans fell apart, which opened me up to entirely new future.

This truth, about the latent seeds of creativity being planted in the midst of suffering, takes us deep into the heart of the Christian faith. We are invited to trust that in the moments when we are most inclined to despair, when all appears lost and we can't imagine any way forward - that it is precisely in those moments when something new may be about to be birthed.

Jesus hangs naked and bloody on a cross, alone and abandoned by his students, scorned by the crowd, and yet defiant, confident, insistent that God is present in his agony, bringing about a whole new world, right here in the midst of this one.

This is a mystery, and one we are wise to reflect on it, because of the countless disruptions we experience all the time.

God is in those moments, grieving with us, shedding tears with us, feeling that pain and turmoil with us, and then inviting to trust that something good can come from even this.

So keep your eyes and your heart open.  Be quick to listen and slow to make rash judgments about how it's "all going to turn out," because you never know when you'll find yourself miles from home, laying in a hospital bed with a bad case of brain squeeze, all of your plans crashing down around you, wondering how it all went wrong, only to discover that a whole new life is just beginning.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rob Bell.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Journeys • Opinion

soundoff (242 Responses)
  1. newt

    Jesus died on the cross after a cruel and senseless torture. His options didn't open up, they expired. Glad you found something new to do with your life, but it is irresponsible and dangerous to advise people about the transformative power of hocus pocus and delusion, and somewhat Sadistic to imply that pain and suffering are essential elements to finding purpose in one's life.

    February 13, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  2. JustPlainJoe

    Life is difficult. There will always be pain. Those who face little pain in a privileged life are lucky but not average.
    Although pain in inevitable, suffering is your choice. Tolerating the "noise" of existence is very difficult.
    If the author chooses to suffer and find justifications then he entered into the spectrum of delusional.
    Another superficial and vapid article from CNN.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  3. lance corporal

    wow what utter BS

    February 13, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  4. Darth Vader's Mom

    Bell's article about faith and imagination is an honest reflection about his experience in life . The empirical does not negate his faith, and I find this person refreshing after lbeing bashed over the head for so many years by the same sort of "Christians" who don't get Bell's point. He's not arguing that suffering comes or doesn't come for God. He's saying the humans have the capcity to restructure their accepted views or preconcieved ideas–or plans–when faced with a brick wall, a road block, or worse. He said much more than that, actually. But he said it better that I can. Maybe some of you should pray for discernment and reread the article. I'm going to. By the way, I'm agnostic –and he has me thinking–unlike the 17 years I spent in a holiness church.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  5. kathy

    Thanks to Rob Bell for sharing his experience of suffering in the light of faith. It is this which makes sense of the pain. Romans 8:28 – somehow it is all turned to good – the paschal mystery – in the dying is a rising to new life.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • rodneycolma

      go tell it on the mountain

      February 13, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  6. katya Maria

    Funny. I was just asking this question last evening when I was trying to put an anxious mind to rest. Thank you. I have always been one that needed billboards to hear God's reply.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  7. alvinoid

    @always learning – funny you see my question as an attack (6000 year old earth) and assume I am uneducated or ignorant. The idea of picking and choosing the interpretation of scripture is a very convenient rationalization. Recall that thousands were condemned to death for stating what we now accept as almost certainly true. Although I may accept that ideas 'evolve' and that folks can reconcile their religious beliefs with what science and technology have uncovered, this still seems too convenient. Hypocrisy in religion isn't something the non-religious created. Read the scripture, all of it. The messages in the bible and other books make it clear that there isn't a lot of wiggle room. The contradictions that arise when folks claim a la carte Christianity are obvious. Truth is that in this day and age you're lucky they don't burn folks for blasphemy (Me too I guess). My question was meant to provoke discussion. It seems to have provoked but this does not change the fact that there are many judgmental Christians that truly believe scripture literally, including the young earth bit. I don't condemn folks for this but it does make me worry. My opinion is that all 'modern' religion is a falsehood. I'm sure folks can relate very important experiences that they will tie in with 'God' and that's personal. Regardless many of the ideas outlined in the 'sacred' books are too easy to discount. That is why questioning these ideas is considered a sin (or at least it was). People have burned for this. I doubt anyone has ever been burned for questioning ideas about math, or chemistry (at least not in the literal sense). I'd recommend reading 'Letter to a Christian Nation'. It is provocative but if you are a true believer than that should only solidify your faith ... consider it a test.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  8. Blessed Geek

    Suffering is an incidental necessity, but should not be an intentional necessity. Martyrdom is an unfortunate encounter and should not be an intentional encounter.

    Some strains of religion intentionally seek encounters with suffering and penance, as well as martyrdom. Even in christianity, of especially in christianity, where the concept of Faith vs Works is strongly debated, many of their adherents deliberately seek penance as a payment for what they believe are their 'sins'.

    In bible, the hebrew word of 'sin' correlates to deviation. Deviation from your purpose in life, perhaps. Penance and suffering cannot compensate for deviation. Deliberate acts to realign your life to correct deviation is necessary – and some people require penance and suffering to help clear their view in order to realign their lives. But to many people suffering and penance is an absolute non-necessity – and for such people penance itself becomes the deviation/sin.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  9. Tom

    God does not always 'solve' one's problems for you. More often, he gives grace and strength so one can grow, then can transcend one's problems.

    And here, as with the band and then the ministry, out of death comes life.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Anna 1953

      Touche, Tom

      February 13, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • jesus

      Hey Tom, "God does not always solve one's problems for you," nor does he help with the command with the grammatical complexities of one's mother tongue. If you want to wear big boy pants, you should learn to properly communicate in English.

      February 13, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • jesus

      Hey Tom, "God does not always solve one's problems for you," nor does he help with the command of the grammatical complexities of one's mother tongue. If you want to wear big boy pants, you should learn to properly communicate in English.

      February 13, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  10. FundyTime

    So you got a brain infection ... then you became a pastor? Interesting. I wonder how many other pastors are the result of brain-damage inducing medical conditions. Ever think God might have been trying to kill you and that the secular medical system thwarted his plans? That's my interpretation based on the scripture.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • admin

      aw – cute – be more jaded.
      love your enemies is what jesus would say to you.

      February 13, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  11. Reality

    Maybe the pastor can use the following lyrics:

    The Apostles' Creed 2010: (updated based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say however that he was a mamzer)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen–

    February 13, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  12. Marta

    This is such a meaningless, shallow article..why was this even published? Thanks

    February 13, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Laura

      ... It's a blog posting (See header, Belief Blog). At the bottom, it expressly says that the article solely represents the opinions of the author. While you, or any one else for that matter has the right to disagree with his opinions, this is a personal testimony.

      If you don't want to read personal testimonies on a Sunday morning, all you have to do is not read the blog on faith.

      PS. this response is not specific to you Marta, it just seemed like a good place to put it.

      February 13, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  13. R Harris

    “Blessed are you [Rob Bell] when others revile you and persecute you [on CNN message boards] and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." – Matthew 5:11 May your ministry at Mars Hill continue to experience unprecedented growth.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • rodneycolma

      there has been no evil, just doubt in cnn. I don't really know who this Rob Bell is, but cnn is not the right place for his words. People come to cnn for news stories, and more and more get a lot of pop bs, To me, stories about Miley Cyrus and Rob Bell are the same in that they do not fit on this site and should not be featured. CNN is a news site. Where is the news here? If I'd wanted a sermon I would have looked for it in the myriad of other places on the net where you can find similar stories.

      February 13, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  14. David

    I am not really surprised to see these negative postings. People who usually get all worked up about this sort of thing are angry with God for one reason or another, so they get extremely upset when they read or hear anything positive about God. Their all inclusive, love everyone, be tolerant umbrella seems to shrink when this subject comes up. They're frustrated because they can't control their current situation(s) and they percieve God as an uncaring God. The truth is, God doesn't make people do bad things to each other. People make people do bad things to each other. And IF God made the world "perfect" where He made sure everyone did as he said, where would the true freedom be? He's given us a choice to follow him or not. Freedom. Believing in God is a choice, and just because you don't believe in God, doesn't mean he doesn't believe in you.

    February 13, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • rodneycolma

      I think it's also particularly disgusting the way christian trolls always generalize like this. The fact is, this article is out of place. I'm not putting down the message, for some this may provide hope, help or guidance and who am I to say what should be guiding people? But this site is definitely the wrong place for it. I do not go to cnn.com for a sermon. I come here for news. And, to be completely honest with you, there are aspects of my life that do not gel with christianity, which cause conflict. So I do not like to see the christian view here on cnn... Journalism is supposed to be unbiased. Apparently it's not, here at cnn, or else the front page would feature a "faith" story by a buddhist, a pantheist, a jew, a muslim, an atheist, a satanist, a catholic, a hindu... you see my point?

      February 13, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • aginghippy

      Atheists are not angry with God any more than you are angry with the Easter Bunny. This atheist just gets irritated with people of faith who can find God in anything and everything, when common sense should lead them in any other direction. It's interesting to observe how angry the faithful become when anyone dares to offer a different viewpoint on religious ramblings. I can offer a contradictory point of view on any other subject without being accused of not knowing my own mind. But offer a contradiction to religion, and it must be that I really believe in God and am just angry with him. That is condescending and irrational.

      February 13, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Anonymous

      Rodneycolma:

      You're right, journalism should be unbiased... but what about editorials? They are, as a rule, opinion pieces, which is what this would fall under. Nowhere is this article being represented as journalistic "fact." Indeed, Rob Bell's name and picture are right up at the top, so there should be no confusion about the authorship of this piece, there is a disclaimer statement at the end of the article, and, if you'll look to your address bar, you'll notice that this is posted under the "religion.blogs.cnn.com" domain.

      "Religion blogs." Do you expect impartial, factual reporting under this section?

      It's a longstanding tradition in journalism to have segments of any given media outlet (TV news, newspapers, magazines, etc.) devoted to personal opinion and special interests. If you don't come to CNN to read articles about Christianity, I humbly recommend not clicking on the articles about Christianity? If you accidentally do, I'm pretty sure you're allowed to close them without reading the entire thing.

      Let those who care to read these articles do so, and if you have issues with them, feel free to pass them by!

      February 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  15. rudge

    Yeah, guy was so depressed and had no resilency, hey, why not become a pastor? I already experienced failure at getting back up on the horse, let me now preach it to feel better about MYSELF. Weak person, Weak person. My life so far is a better story than this!

    February 13, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Anna 1953

      Dear Rudge,
      Just wait. This is not a threat. It is a promise. Life has a way of forcing us to give up completely - whether by suicide, or bitterness –
      when things worse than we can ever imagine comes to pass. It is then that, in our agony, we cry out for help. That help comes to us in the form of another caring human being; an loving animal; an angel; an insight. As the Dalai Lama said, "The period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience is the most difficult period in one's life." He does not claim to be a religious figure; he is a philosopher (as was the Buddha - who also never claimed divinity). It is a shared human reality: that growth and good can come out of grief and pain.

      February 13, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  16. Joe Miller

    I don't know much, but I know that God speaks volumes through his servent Rob. This ministry that he and Mars Hill are a part of have absolutely kept me afloat in time of despair and doubt. Bell is a prime example that the tomb is empty and that Jesus is King. God Bless you Rob, keep up the outstanding work!!!!!

    February 13, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • Madeline

      AMEN, Joe. I can't believe how people fail to recognize the inspiration of his ministry.

      February 13, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  17. Nancy

    Seems to me you gave up your music passion too soon. There is a HUGE market for christian rock. Had you pursued it, you could have turned all those lies you now "preach" as a pastor into a few pithy ballads for your congregation of blockheads to sing as they herd themselves before you each week.

    February 13, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Blessed Geek

      He is not in for the 'market'. He is in for his 'faith'. He is not into selling the wares of his talents to exploit opportunities afforded by market demands. He is into however he believes is the best way to reach out for his message and ministration undiluted.

      February 13, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • rudge

      Nancy is right to stupid religous FREAK, go to jerusalem or something and forcing your faith on to others. You don't need to find god, you need to find yourself and live your own god dam life! Stop making excusses and grow and learn to be a better person. I bet science makes you mad too?

      February 13, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Nancy

      That's probably for the best. He should just leaving the "selling of wares of his talent to exploit opportunities" to those whom have PERFECTED the art (albeit not to music), such as the Osteens, Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck, Benny Hinn, Jon Barta, or the spawn of Jim and Tammy Fae Baker (Jay Baker). Hypocrites, all of them, lining their pockets with YOUR hard earned money. Praise jeebus!

      February 13, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  18. Jeff

    Bell does in this article what he does in his book: take liberties with scripture to try to fit the point he wants to make. He writes, "Jesus hangs naked and bloody on a cross, alone and abandoned by his students, scorned by the crowd, and yet defiant, confident, insistent that God is present in his agony, bringing about a whole new world, right here in the midst of this one."

    Defiant? Not one of the gospels indicates anything like this. Confident? There are numerous ways one might interpret, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?", and Gethsemane indicates a certain steeling of resolve to accomplish his Father's will, but the discussion of "defiant, confident, insistent that God is present in his agony" is more artistic license than scripturally based.

    grace and peace,

    -jeff

    February 13, 2011 at 8:50 am |
  19. Silly Myths

    Always amazes me how weak people are and how they will go to any lengths to justify the horrors brought on or allowed by their supposed loving god. They get sick or hurt and then thank god for giving them the courage to deal with it, hit by lightning, thank god for saving you. How about lets ask why why would god strike you with that lightning, why would god give that infant cancer. The answers is there is no god or that god is evil one of the two because a loving god could not make or allow all the pain and suffering of its creatures, an all powerful loving god could and would fix everything.

    February 13, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Real Life Canton

      Nice comment. You bring up some valid points. It is important for secular minded people to openly challenge the ideas of religious faith. Religious faith stemming from any of the popular religions (not just Christianity) is typically a bad idea, mostly because the evidence for any of these religions actually being true is very poor.

      February 13, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • thepreacherspeaks

      Is it possible to consider that there is nothing to "fix"? Perhaps the natural motion of life (or dare I say evolution) is that crap happens and humans suffer because of it. Rob is admitting that suffering is a natural phenomenon of human life on earth. The beauty of what Rob is saying is that God, in the form of the man we call Jesus, has experienced the same suffering that you and I experience everyday, and because of that can travel with us through the suffering providing guidance, strength, and ultimately hope. The large picture view of this hope is what I'm sure you've heard Christians call "eternal life." Because of who we are (in church we use the word "sinners") we are all on a path to destruction, but Jesus assumed that destruction on our behalf and gives us hope of a different, more joyful outcome.

      February 13, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Jesus saves

      God uses all things, both his loving kindness and trials of suffering, to bring about a change in people's hearts away from worldliness, which is generally called repentance. He created us to enjoy Him as our good and gracious ruler, but we rebelled. We committed treason against our King! Think about just the first commandment alone, to have no other gods before Him – if you are not a Christian, you have broken this every day since birth! We deserve to be punished with death, but Jesus took the punishment for us! He lived the perfect life we cannot live, and in humility, was obedient to death. By having faith (reliance, trust) in Jesus for the forgiveness of your treason, the saving of your soul, and renewal of life, you can be redeemed! Your broken relationship with God can be reconciled. You can be counted as righteous because Christ was righteous for you. I implore you, believe in the one and only Saviour, Jesus Christ the Righteous One!

      February 13, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Anna 1953

      I would have said the same things you are saying, when I was much younger. What I have learned, over the past two decades, is that God IS Love. As Tolstoy said, "Where Love is, God is." God is not a person; God is not a puppeteer. God, simply and purely
      IS Love.

      February 13, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Proven

      It amazes me that someone has a personal opinion for a "being" he doesnt feel agsist. How can you feel any emotion towards something if it isnt even there? Why does God cause pain? Why does God allow an infant to have cancer? The questions readily rise to mind and on the surface seem reasonable: yet a candid look at them shows that they carry certain implications. They imply that suffering in human life is inconsistent either with the power or with the love of God: that as a God of love either He has not the power to prevent the suffering, or if He has the power then He has not the will, and is not a God of love. It is assumed that the prevention of suffering as it now affects the apparently innocent is something we should expect from a God of love who is also Almighty. "http://www.christadelphia.org/pamphlet/sufferng.htm" May I also remind you that science has proven the Bible to be more accurate than it has proven it to be false. "http://www.clarifyingchristianity.com/science.shtml" I love a healthy debate. Ask why God causes pain and then I ask why you cause pain. Its called free will. Live your life as you will but if you are wrong, your loss would be greater than mine if I was the one who was wrong.

      February 13, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Gbird

      Well, I don't know Canton, you state, "Religious faith stemming from any of the popular religions (not just Christianity) is typically a bad idea, mostly because the evidence for any of these religions actually being true is very poor." If there is proof there's no need for faith, so your statement kind of contradicts itelf. If the basic tennants of a religion based in faith are bad ideas becuse there's no proof... I don't know, I haven't had coffee yet, but I can't reconcile your faith/proof dichotomy that you seem to be presenting as proof that faith is a bad idea.

      February 13, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Real Life Canton

      @GBird – Allow me to clarify. When religious adherents use faith ilo reasonable evidence to justify their position, this is a bad idea because it is irrational and highly atypical. It is irrational because rational people lean on good evidence, not faith to make decisions. It is atypical because of the following... try to come up with a scenario outside of religion where we use "faith" to make a decision.

      February 14, 2011 at 6:02 am |
  20. endure

    Rob Bell mentioned Jesus? Never thought I would see the day. Rob Bell, please expound on what Jesus offers. No, he's not on the cross anymore, he has risen, conquered death and now sits at the right hand of God. He offers reconciliation to God by means of his sacrifice on the cross, and this reconciliation would not be possible otherwise since we are all sinful. Its not just that Jesus can sympathize with our weakness, sin and pain, he has beaten death and now offers salvation. That is the hope we have, and that is why we can trust God in the hard times...because he is so much more powerful and in control than we could imagine.

    February 13, 2011 at 8:44 am |
    • Debbie

      Thanks Rob Bell for the inspiring words and the reminder that God is with us in our suffering.

      February 13, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • InLove0607

      Well, I'm waiting. About 5 years ago I woke up to 10 Paramedics/firemen standing in my bedroom, trying to explain to me that I had several seizures. By the time I was with it again, I was at the hospital and the state of Florida had been notified. So that Sunday morning at 4a.m. canceled all my life plans. Before that, I had a great job that paid well, a nice car, and was working on buying a house. A nurse took my car keys out of my purse and my license. I went to my boss the next day crying because I couldn't do part of job anymore, driving across the state to the 8 different farms he owned. As soon as I told him I couldn't drive, my 5 years with that company was over. So now I had no job, no car, no drivers license, was turned down for unemployment because a medical condition caused my "Lay off", and was now living at my parents again. I didn't qualify for disability since they claim the seizures can be controlled by meds. I did everything I was had to do, waited a year to drive again, and some how I scrimped by the skin of my teeth. A year after that I had restarted my life, had a great job that I LOVED as a jeweler, a new car, my license back, and no seizures for over 2 years (YAY!). One Friday morning in January 2009, I was driving to see my mom who lives 3 city's away. On the top of a high bridge with no where to pull over, I feel a seizure coming on. I slowed down and put my 4-ways on. The next thing I remember was once again waking up to police, paramedics, and firemen standing around me trying to tell me what happened. Now I'm still waiting for the seizures to subside. Two years later they still don't know how to make them stop, none of the meds work, and they can't find why they are happening at all. Now I'm afraid if I do get my license back, what if I go over the bridge side next time, or worse hurt someone else. I have seriously considered just killing myself so I'm not a burden to anyone anymore. I wish I knew when "God's" going to let me start over again. If it's not soon I'm probably just going to end it. Like I said in the beginning, I'm waiting.

      February 13, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • admin

      rob mentions jesus every week – rob opens scripture every week. just because he's not a reformed american christian who cares more for the creeds than scripture, doesnt mean you can create a caricature.

      February 13, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Maybe

      InLove0607,

      I am touched and sad to about read your difficult circ.umstances. I don't know what to say to help give you strength... 'magical' thinking doesn't seem to be it, though. You write very well and seem to have so much to offer. Maybe your sharing of it will help you focus on some solutions. And maybe others will reach out to you. I wish you well, if that's any comfort. Take care.

      February 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Don

      There's nothing from which I need to be saved. So the whole thing is quite silly.

      February 13, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • trustinyou

      @inlove, You are not alone.
      You cannot depend on a neurologist to find the cause of the seizures. Please take charge of investigating for the cause of the seizures. Also get good regular sleep, a healthy diet, exercise and no alcohol or caffeine.

      Neurologists do EEG and MRI and if normal EEG and no brain tumor only prescribe AED drugs. After contacting or appointments with 30 neurologists the truth is neurologists do not get involved to find the cause of the seizures. One
      neurologist stated that there are 100 possible causes for seizures and it was too much work for the neurologist to find the cause of the seizures. Neurologists are most concerned about being sued for accidents caused by their patients seizure. One epileptologist told me not to come back until i was willing to take an AED. I refuse to take AED because i believe AED are harmful and dangerous.

      Here are some ideas that might help:

      Cardiologist for 3 week noninvasive monitor for heart arhythmia and tilt table test for POTS or fainting(which leads to a seizure), MRI of the heart for structural abnormality.

      Endocrinologist for blood tests for hormone imbalance, hypoglycemia.

      Ear, nose and throat specialist for sleep study for sleep apnea, MRA-MRV for arteriovenous malformation or pulsative tinnitus.

      Neurologist specializing in sleep disorders for sleep study for sleep disorders.

      Oncologist for cancer that can cause seizures.

      February 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • endure

      @admin, I have never heard Bell preach a sermon, but I have watched his Nooma vids and read his books. Unfortunately the impression I got from this material is he is weak in his theology, not to mention his Tweeting of the gospel where he said,

      "I would say that history is headed somewhere. The thousands of little ways in which you are tempted to believe that hope might actually be a legitimate response to the insanity of the world actually can be trusted. And the Christian story is that a tomb is empty, and a movement has actually begun that has been present in a sense all along in creation. And all those times when your cynicism was at odds with an impulse within you that said that this little thing might be about something bigger—those tiny little slivers may in fact be connected to something really, really big."

      This is hardly sound theology. The closest mention of Jesus is in the word "Christian." Perhaps his sermons are different, but the way he comes across to those not in his congregation is pretty much summed up in the previous quote. Don't get me wrong, though, he is rather crafty with words and is perhaps one of the most powerful pastors in regards to reaching a postmodern world.

      February 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.