home
RSS
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. Richard McCarthy

    I fail to understand why some people view suffering as a "gift" from God. God does not ordain, cause nor "permit" suffering. Suffering is what it is. Yes, you can use suffering as a starting point to change your life, but please don't blame nor implicate God as the instigator. God only and always wants the best for us, no matter who or where we came from, or what religion or denomination we profess to believe in.

    February 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Magic

      "God does not ordain, cause nor "permit" suffering."

      Correct. Nor is there any proof that 'he' ordains, causes or permits good things... or mediocre things... or anything.

      February 14, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • NL

      Unless you read Job, then God does allow the faithful to experience suffering so that they can discover the value of maintaining faith. Specifically take everything away so that all a person has is their beliefs and see if he cracks. If he doesn't crack then God gives back more than he took away. Nice story, if it actually worked out that way for everyone.

      February 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  2. anton

    Wow... Rob, you should really not read these comments!!! all your stuff is very inspiring!!!!! love what you do!!!

    February 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  3. OneOnAJourney

    I am on a journey as many of you are, as well. I look around and see grief, sickness, poverty, evil, and many other things that are hard to understand when compared to our idea of who God is. What I have found is God is all those things I envision but the world is not, which is even acknowledged by the Bible. Creation, free will, suffering, good coming out of suffering, our rebellion against God....all CAN explain what is happening, but it is not an answer that soothes the human soul or makes all of the suffering go away. IF we all lived by the standard the Bible sets forth, then the world would be different, better I would contest. What I do know is that He said if you see someone suffering and have the ability to help but don't then you don't have Christ in you. We could all argue, discuss, theorize all the rest OR we could live it. There is a quote from an un-named soure that goes like this: 1st person says "I would like to ask God why doesn't He do anything about suffering, hunger, and poverty." 2nd person replies "Then why don't you?" 1st person answers "I'm afraid He would ask me the same thing."

    February 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  4. Andrew

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

    And me.
    Great blog, Rob. Love your work.

    February 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  5. Heather

    I am recovering from Evangelicalism, as Rob Bells says..."pearls throw before swine", too much of a good thing for me (religon) wasn't always the best for me. What I could never understand was the "be good so you can get your big prize in the sky – heaven". Isn't there other reasons for being good? If God lives in us we know goodness. Thank you to Rob Bell for bringing me back to my Bible. 15 years of dust. I too have never understood the major significance of Jesus dying for my sins. I appreciate it. But I already "know" good. I already know "love". It's not that hard if it comes from your soul which is filled with God's love. Peace to all, whichever isle you are on, I hope we all love because God is in us, if you love because of what you will "get", don't really think it's the right reason but it's better than not loving at all. And it is Valentines Day, a day of love.

    February 14, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • NL

      Heather-
      "I hope we all love because God is in us, if you love because of what you will "get", don't really think it's the right reason but it's better than not loving at all. And it is Valentines Day, a day of love."

      An atheist doesn't love for what we get by way of heavenly reward either, or even because we feel "God is in us." We love because it's part of being human.

      February 14, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  6. junebug

    @alvinoid
    the treat others as you would be treated is straight from the bible. your denial that your worldview has been shaped by the culture you grew up in (which is heavily influenced by christianity) is delusional. sorry dude, if you were living in ancient rome, you wouldn't be touting these claims.

    February 14, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • NL

      junebug-
      "the treat others as you would be treated is straight from the bible."
      The ethic of reciprocity goes back long before Jesus. For example Confucius said "Do not do to others that which we do not want them to do to us" about 500 years before Jesus was born. The Bible did not invent this.

      February 14, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  7. Laura D

    Logic and neat explanations won't explain suffering because its degrading, disruptive, dehumanising. God knows we will only try and explain it away or find a hole in the argument anyway. To say we have the answers about suffering is arrogant, but we can hope for a knowing in our heart, and a peace through that time. All I can say is that suffering can't destroy me or humanity because my destiny, our destiny has already been determined by the Lord who suffers with us, as he overcame and still covers a world of suffering in Love.

    Gods mysterious communion with us in our dark trials can't be explained with words, but can touch and heal our hearts, and unburden our souls.

    All we have to do is open our eyes to an already present God, and present ourselves broken to him. He will do the rest.

    "I asked, are you ready?" said the Lion. "Yes," said Digory. He had for a second some wild idea of saying "I'll try to help you if you'll promise to help my Mother," but he realized in time that the Lion was not at all the sort of person one could make bargains with. But when he had said "Yes," he thought of his Mother, and he thought of the great hopes he had had, and how they were all dying away, and a lump came in his throat and tears in his eyes and he blurted out: "But please, please-won't you-can't you give me something that will cure my Mother?" Up till then he had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself. – The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

    February 14, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • NL

      Laura D-
      "To say we have the answers about suffering is arrogant."
      So, to state that God has anything to do with understanding suffering is equally arrogant, yes?

      February 14, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  8. NL

    "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."

    Now, if Jesus knew that he was God before coming to the cross then his self-sacrifice was actually the achievement of his life's goal, and not an example of how overcoming suffering can actually lead to later success, right?

    February 14, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  9. fineart

    Like I said earlier in this blog, one should turn to meditation to free the mine of all unnecessary clutter. We need a clear path to the answers we seek. The physical benefits of meditation have and are still being proven, but for some reason we don't want to experience the spiritual. Is it because finding that path would turn everything we've ever learned via religion on it's head? Can anyone prove that all that has been written is true? What about half truths? Did someone or something take the original message (scriptures) out of context for their own personal gain? Worship me and I'll set you free. What if the original message was, you have all of the answers to every question that has ever been asked or ever will be asked, if you only go within. Personally I don't "do drugs" of any kind and I DON'T ADVOCATE for their use, but I remember thousands of people taking LSD and seeing the face of God. I think they stumbled on a quick path to the infinate. The path they should have taken is slow and guided, the same way loving parents guide their children through their early lives. Meditation takes time and practice and I find it so rewarding, especially when dealing with co-workers. The questions I'm asked at work are; why are you so darn happy all the time, why didn't what they said about you tick you off, are you taking anything, because I want some of it. Those are just a few. I know deep inside of me something has changed. I'm able to control a large part of my life, that's not to say that unwanted things won't happen to me, but I will have a much better 'grip" on the situation. Seek and you WILL find the answers through meditation.

    February 14, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  10. J

    It’s difficult to understand that hurt and sorrow can be “sent” form God, that feeling like your world is at an end or worse, how feeling nothing at all, could be part of His plan for your life. “It always rains”, sometimes it pours and it’s impossible to see past the situation you find yourself in.

    Am I not good enough? Fun enough? Or did ten million little things push us into the place where we now inexplicably find ourselves? I looked at what my life had come to – How do we move forward form this? Where do you even start? How do I deal with the hurt and the sorrow? I have no idea. Standing in the rain, I am lost and hurt and scared.

    Someone once told me that like the olive, we have to go through a pressing process to bring forth the valuable oil, oil that God will use to change the world around us. Every time it hurts, every time I sink into that dark place, every time I don’t understand why or know how, I remember the olive.

    I hope that even in the darkest and most difficult times you embrace His love. It won’t make it all go away, it won’t lessen the hurt or dull the sorrow but maybe it will give you that little bit of strength and blind hope you need so badly. I hope that in your battle, you will remember the olive.

    February 14, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  11. Rez

    Awesome!

    February 14, 2011 at 1:37 am |
  12. TheRationale

    Please, if God loved any of you suffering individuals, he'd help you. That's what all of you do for your friends in need, and none of you are anywhere close to omnipotent. God is most clearly not there. He's a placebo. A teddy bear. A magic feather. He's no more helpful than you make him to be.

    February 14, 2011 at 12:30 am |
  13. Judy Blume

    NHP - Please don't give up on God. It's a very simple heart decision. Ignore everything you have read on this page and get on your knees and tell God that you have given up on Him, and you need to tell Him you have been drained of faith, drained of hope. Seek and it is there. It is there even when your heart and physical body is weary and without faith. Jeremiah 29:11-13, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

    February 13, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  14. alvinoid

    @avoid alvinoid – ok, what is good? It depends on how you define 'good'. I suppose that for a religious person goodness is defined by specific directives in their respective doctrine. My answer is that for me I've always known what is proper (don't harm or kill, be respectful of others, be honest, don't steal, give thanks to others, help others, be courteous) .. it is a long list. The argument that without any sort of god that I will have no moral framework or guidance is a slippery and dubious argument. The counter argument (that all religious people are good) certainly isn't backed up by real world examples (at least not by all that claim to believe). As to the 'why' of being good ... I have had enough experience with selfish/mean/bad people and I operate on the treat others as you would be treated philosophy. I will gain nothing by taking advantage of others at their expense. But I need no official doctrine or fear of retribution to have this sort of philosophy. I suggest reading Sam Harris' new book, "The Moral Landscape" as it directly speaks to this argument. As to knowing good, well, there certainly is an intuitive nature to this and although I am not perfect I do feel that I put much energy into considering others. This begs the question, what exactly does the Christian doctrine define as good? It seems that many things are either bad or good throughout both the old and new testament. In fact there are many contradictory statements. And if folks were to take the writings literally, well, the definition of good would be pretty archaic and involve some fairly horrendous acts.

    So, I suppose that isn't much of an answer but it does not change the fact in my life that I need no supreme being as a moral guide. The idea that I would need some sort of fear based moral code, honestly, is a bit ridiculous. Maybe some folks need this, but not me.

    February 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  15. popsicle71

    suffering is different things to different people, no matter how well we think we know God or not, suffering will always be present in this natural life. No matter who you are the things we suffer are the things that make us. From a few of the posts listed I am fortunate enough to not be able to speak of the same understanding of things you may have suffered, but I have had things of my own, some are nagging, some down right horrible. I can not blame God for those things, nor hold it against him if those things don't change when I want them to. Suffering is an experience that should draw us closer to God, and before you groan in disbelief of possible absurdity, let me ask you this question, As a child were there ever situations where your parents (major assumption on my part) did not respond or give to you what you thought you needed when you wanted it? Did you then believe they did not exist? Was there possibly a reason why they did not give you what you were looking for.
    Religion and Christianity may be a crutch, and may also be a device for the weak-minded fools that can not logic or reason their way to an answer, but it's funny that faith no matter what you desire to put it into: religion, science, nothing, etc.. takes the same amount of effort no matter what you put it into. But the benefits of stepping out beyond what you can reason, or empirically experience is the child like faith that is being waited for by a Loving God. I know that through abandonment and abuse, by the natural people in my life God was able to reach me. No i"m not perfect and no holy roller, but I recognize that all He has ever asked of me was to pay attention to Him and let Him do the work in me. This is all he ever wants from anyone, open your heart, pour it out vulnerability is a price we pay to trust someone we do not know, it is also the first step to trust. Your life physically may not change overnight, mine did not either, but the funny thing is God sent people, and used people to make differences in my life. He will do the same for you. Do not give up hope if you believe, and if you don't believe there is always a first time to go rogue on your past. God has never asked you to give up your intelligence, but He does require you to give your heart.
    @NHP I believe God will use someone to reveal himself and his love to you, please don't shut your heart down and miss it, He may use that person to change your life forever.

    February 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  16. Gordon

    Thank you for this. I'm going through a difficult time and your words help to shake things back into perspective.

    February 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  17. alvinoid

    @Reality – although I agree whole heartedly, the one mistake you make is to use logic with believers. Even when it's pathetically easy to pick out pieces of scripture that blatantly contradict, it still doesn't matter to the 'faithful'. Faith in the mystical super being that knows all, creates all etc, etc till you puke, is essentially willful ignorance with a giant glass of hope. As noted above, that's some strong 'Kool aid'. All of us live in a world significantly effected (both in good and bad ways) by the application of science and logical thinking yet many (even our politicians) are still constrained by these delusions and mythologies. The very act of examining religious dogma with a fine, logical and rigorous method, is contradictory to the nature of religion and hence the very reason why I find the whole thing obviously bogus. I can have a memorable, almost 'spiritual' moment merely glancing at the night sky and absorbing its magnificence. But I don't need a god of any variety to make the experience any more special or meaningful. For all the religious that have 'pity' on all of the non-believers ... well, get over it. My life is significant;y more free and fulfilled. The acceptance of the fact that this is the one life I know I'll have has inspired me to live a better, more moral and giving existence. I don't need any god or threats of a never ending afterlife in a pit of fire to motivate me. The new flavor of 'Christianity' is merely for the weak minded that can't come to terms with the unavoidable truth that surrounds us. That elephant in the corner, his name isn't god, his name is death and he's real.

    February 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Avoid the Alvinoid

      Your argument is nothing new to a Christian. But, I do have to ask, because I don't think you have thought of it: Why be good? Let that sink through for a while. Nothings holding you back, so why be good? In fact, I suppose I am presumptuous in asking that question, so I will ask you this: What is good? And, how do you know its good?

      February 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • J

      "I can have a memorable, almost 'spiritual' moment merely glancing at the night sky and absorbing its magnificence." That is God, that is what you are connected to and it doesn't need to be explained or written in book to make it true.

      "A lot of people confuse religion with God and walk away form them both. The point is not Christianity. The point is being a Christian. It means being a follower of Jesus. It's being connected to everything that is true and good and right. Everything that goes on around us, that reminds us there is so much more going on around us than we realize. Could anything be more beautiful?

      February 14, 2011 at 2:58 am |
    • Don

      Oh Avoid, you have indicted yourself as one of those who is only good because he doesn't want to go to some bad place when he dies. We who are good without god are the truly moral ones; we are good because we understand the concept of rights, and how certain actions lead to a short, brutish life.

      And you should really look at Plato's _Euthyphro_.

      February 14, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Face

      @ Avoid,
      So your saying that you are only being good because a deity is watching you?

      I love how you claim to "know" why people are moral (in general) as a species, when I can claim the exact thing, saying "oh that's because MY god made us like this!" You have 0 evidence when using the "god shield" or "god dun it" argument...
      GL with logic, hopefully you'll get some in life.

      February 14, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  18. Reality

    And to put a final nail into Christianity:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    "Heaven is a Spirit state" as per JPII and Aquinas i.e. there can be no bodies. i.e. there was and never will be any physical resurrection/ascension of human bodies."

    And is it not ironical that JPII along with Aquinas are the ones who put finality to the words "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless."

    February 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • andrew

      Do you imagine that you have somehow just disproved Christianity? Because if you're trying to convince Christians, I really don't these two brief citations are going to convince anyone. Or maybe you're out to convince yourself of something? Either way, it's a strange response to the blog.

      February 14, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • Steve the real one

      REALITY,

      You have been putting a "final nail" into Christianity for 2-3 weeks now. Which is it? Is THIS the "final nail" or was it last week or the week before? Sorry but it didn't work last week, won't work this week or ANY week! Maybe you need new "nails"! You are attempting what some have been attempting for thousand of years (getting rid of Christianity). Bad news! EVERYONE who have attempted has miserably failed, as will you!

      February 14, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • NL

      Reality-
      It's best to accept that Christianity will be around for quite some time to come. All we can hope for is a shift away from fundamentalist anti-intellectualism, and this guy appears to be a poster boy for a more liberal, tolerant faith. In his book Velvet Elvis Bell says “the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people…”. Personally, I can learn to like a pastor who isn't driven to convert the world, can you? Apparently he is the bane of the conservative school of thumpers. Does that make you like him better?

      February 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  19. Madeline

    I really appreciate that Rob Bell was able to come to the discoveries that he did and I honestly wish that I could come to the same. Years of sickness and just learning how messed up the world is and I don't really know where there is purpose. I actually think that Bell's ideas are beautiful. I just wish that I could actually believe that God actually cares and loves people and isn't just out to get them. Chronic illness has made me completely reshape my life and I don't even know what that re-shaping is going to look like exactly, I am still discovering that. I just really appreciate that Bell has hope. I miss hope a lot.

    February 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Sam

      hi Madeline, I just want to let you know that sickness is not God's will nor plan for you. Now, He can WORK all things together for our good, but there's a difference between Him working all things together, and CAUSING all things to happen. Jesus is the perfect representation of the Father. And God's will is never sickness – no one who ever came to Jesus for healing ever got turned down. Jesus healed them all. Jesus even paid for our physical healing (as well as our spiritual). Matthew 8:17 quotes a prophecy from Isaiah regarding this. Jesus said that the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus came to give us life and to destroy the works of the devil.

      So right now, be healed in Jesus' name. Blessings!

      February 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • Susan

      Hi Madeleine, I can identify with your story. I have had a chronic illness for 26 years, since I was 15 and have been through years of pain and misery and having all my plans frustrated. I also endured years of people telling me that God would heal me, but offering little other practical or emotional support which I desperately needed at times.

      I often wondered 'why?' and 'why me?'. I still don't know why and I don't know why God doesn't seem to heal today like Jesus did but I have decided to chose to believe that God DOES love me and he DOES have a reason for all this, but I just don't know it yet. And I chose to believe this because it makes me feel happier and better and more confident than the doubt and questioning that was my frame of mind for years. So in the end, faith is a very pragmatic decision for me. And at the end of the day, faith is believing in something you can't see or understand anyway.

      Hope this helps and I hope you find what you need to get through your situation. 🙂

      February 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  20. NHP

    Oh, yeah, right. My life fell apart when my chosen career (I chose it at the age of 5) ended in 1992 (something I can’t seem to start up again). I have never gotten back on my feet since then. That old "When God closes a door He opens a window" is B.S. No window has ever opened for me. Now, while I'm in my 2 year and 7 month time of unemployment, I've just lost my apartment (for non-payment of rent), I'm living on General Relief and almost broke, I have no family, and no friends to help (many are in positions that are approaching the dire straits of mine), my 12 year old car is slowly going downhill, and my health is beginning to do weird things, I'm supposed to believe "a whole new life is just beginning?" I'll believe it when I see it. "...in the moments when we are most inclined to despair, when all appears lost and we can't imagine any way forward..." describes my life right now. Every time I think I’ve hit bottom, there’s a new bottom. All of my prayers (and those of the many people who’ve told me they’re praying for me) have been ignored. God is good at that. "To say, "...God is in those moments, grieving with us, shedding tears with us..." is BS. And that old "Footprints" poster makes my skin crawl. It's all religious B.S. Believe it or don’t. I can’t – too much history of no Heavenly help when I’ve needed (and begged for) it. Only “some” people have prayers listened to. The rest of us are all alone out there…

    February 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Nate

      NHP,

      Where are you from? What could I do to help?

      February 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Trevor

      I love your honesty. Hang in there man.

      February 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Mel

      NHP,
      I appreciate your honesty too. I don't know what it is like living in your shoes, but I do know that God loves you whether or not it feels or seems like it. Have you ever read the story of Job in the Bible? He also didn't understand why he was suffering the way he was, but God still loved him even as he allowed these things to happen to him. Please don't be bitter towards God. I don't know why you have been suffering the way you have been, but turning away from God is not going to help. I leave you with this and hope that it will encourage your heart: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

      February 13, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Thomas

      NHP,
      Thanks for your honesty. These are things I get quiet from. Things are just never clear, or set. God keeps remaining a question. And that's not something to be very happy about. For now...

      And for the rest:
      It's not about arguments anymore. We've passed that station. It's about where things connect to your life.

      Greetings from Holland

      February 13, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Julie

      Your situation sounds terrible... Your heart is broken and you feel alone. I don't know what I would do in your spot but I know that when I have been broken down and the gloom has lasted too long I remember how being thankful for the littlest good thing makes me feel better. Tell God what you are thankful for: a small meal, a smile from a stranger, warm blanket or a drink of clean water...an email from a stranger. God bless you and know that you were prayed for by a complete stranger. I pray that a smile comes your way and that you feel God's presence in your life today.

      February 14, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Face

      Did you know that no matter what god you pray to that your "prayers" will be answered? Even a rock or the sun or jug of milk?
      When using biased conformation, like the religious, ANY positive action will be considered "gods work"....

      Please watch: Why God won't heal amputees....

      I'm sorry for your situation, but if you keep seeking help eventually something positive will happen, you just need to stick it out, and do the best you can, because the only way you can go, if your on rock bottom, is up!! (If I had extra money I would love to help you, but I'm in a bad spot myself)
      GL and stay positive!!

      February 14, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Tori

      I'm glad you spoke up, NHP. Some people seem to be blessed no matter what they do. They go through some hard times, but ultimately, things are going to be great for them. It's difficult for those "shining starts" to understand what it's like for those of us who try and try again, but have crappy lives. I devoted my life to God and still had a crappy life. Right now, I'm in limbo. I believe in him, but I don't believe much of what I've heard about him. Your statement of "Too much history of no Heavenly help when I’ve needed (and begged for) it. Only “some” people have prayers listened to. The rest of us are all alone out there…" is exactly how I feel.

      February 14, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Dave

      NHP, I think it's interesting that you say, "When I think I hit bottom, then I hit a new bottom..." Which means you have never hit the bottom. The true "bottom" of the hole is a good place to be, but you have never hit it. Acceptance of your life as it is has never crossed your mind and so you will have no peace.

      My life was like yours until I truly hit the bottom and understood that to surrender to what is brings peace. Of course, you won't understand that, will you? You want God to pay your bills.

      February 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
1 2 3 4 5
Advertisement
About this blog

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.