I am visiting two sick people who share the same terminal illness. Their suffering is increased by the fact that they are brothers and that a mother’s broken heart lies at the core of it all. One of them is a businessman. The other, a servant of the altar. Their mother’s greatest frustration is that her wish to take some of the suffering of her two sons upon her, to trade places with her sons, has not been granted.
On the morning of the 15 November 2016, I awoke in a hospital bed, with no memory of how I got there. My favourite pyjamas had been torn from my body, and I lay in a hospital gown, a piercing pain in my head, impaling my brain. I was barely able to think and incapable of speech. I was scared, though this was no surprise. My new normal comprised of regular hospital visits and multiple near-death experiences. I was trapped in a routine of near-monthly sprints to the emergency room, and days of recovery. Death was a very close neighbour.
Sartre may have been right when he said Hell is other people. Yet, for some, their first step toward Heaven is meeting the God who shelters in someone else's soul.
Things happen anyway, whether good or bad. Why put extra effort into trying to respond positively when certain things happen? Why be grateful?
When we think of gratitude and a lack of gratitude, the biblical scene that comes to mind is the healing of the ten lepers, of whom only one, a Samaritan, returned to thank the Saviour, worshiping and praising God in a loud voice (Luke 17:15-16).
Hope can be palpable and elusive at the same time, both reasonable and independent of logic. Yet this independence from logic is not synonymous with indifference to reason, but a victory over it. Hope has its own logic, one that changes lives for the better.
If science were a religion, how violent would it be compared with Christianity?
I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. – Matthew 3:11
What if we weren't allowed to use more than 140 words a day? If we entered this game, among the useless words we would give up there would probably be words that convey encouragement too. The sad irony is that we use too few words of encouragement anyway, although the emotional and relational benefits are too important to neglect.
Joaquín Carmona had 16,000 followers on Twitter, and his posts about Spanish athletics were appreciated even by sport professionals. None of his followers had ever met him in person, and when silence fell on his account for three months, people began to look for him, write to him and ask who Carmona really was.
Many times we don’t have the patience to wait for an answer to our prayers, and other times we don’t even know when we've received it. For the ten Boom family, the answer to some prayers came 100 years later.
How far is too far? Is there a point of no return?
Let’s not go back to the abnormality of before! This is one of the messages which the French hung from their balconies on May 1, when the activities that would usually happen on this national public holiday could not take place. What can we change and what is worth changing after COVID-19?
Our planet may be fittingly compared to the 1994 film, Speed: A bomb is planted on a bus and rigged to explode when the bus slows to less than 80 kilometres per hour. The bus barrels through Los Angeles, hitting obstacles and endangering the lives of passengers and pedestrians until a solution is found.
The danger of the novel coronavirus has given us pause to reflect. As Christian believers, apart from praying, we are expected to examine and question our beliefs in this time, and to seek answers which are rooted in the perspective of the Holy Scriptures.