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How to be homeless: Coping without God


2020 is an interesting year, so far. I don’t think we know how much the world around us is changing, mostly because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Some changes were happening slowly, but our response to a virus is making things move faster.

I met some people a few days ago, and they surprised me. I was working at a site, and I took a break for lunch. For me, that’s a fast food snack. As I walked into the food outlet, I saw some young adults standing near me, and someone said ‘We need face masks to go in there.’ They wanted food, and the rules are to wear a mask inside a business.

I have a government job and my employers supply me with more PPE than I need, so I gave them face masks and showed them how to use them. We talked for a while, and I remember one man saying that he needed to get a driver’s license from the Government some day. I think the whole group agreed, and I wondered, ‘How do these people live without the basic things in life?’

Something was strange about the conversation.

The next day I was talking to some friends, and someone explained. Near the fast food place was a tent camp for homeless people. People there live in cheap tents, in any weather, and they are poor and lacking in basic things. Conditions are third world.

Once people move into a camp, they stay there. With no address, poor health care and sanitation, and criminal gangs that tell the police to stay away, life is not happy. Life is also very short. I was once the Managing Director of a ‘Mission’ in the inner city, and I was on a first name basis with most of the homeless people in the area. If you can believe it, some of them were sincere Christians. Most of them were addicted to drugs and alcohol, and many were mentally ill.

Today, I am sure that everyone of them is dead. Only I am left.

I often hear that we should have compassion for the homeless, and I agree. What I don’t agree with is sending them somewhere to die. You can disagree with me, but I have strong opinions about this. No one finds freedom in those camps.

Those young adults with my face masks have no future, and a very short lifespan.

I was surprised that the problems I used to see in the inner city have moved to the suburbs, and grown out of control with the younger generation. You and I could easily be with them, if life had taken a few different turns.

What we have now is a kind of collective mental illness. Problems that were small and contained in a few inner cities are now expanding and the COVID 19 pandemic has somehow moved this process faster.

We also have another trend; we are now mostly secular. Religion and believing in God is becoming a strange thing practised by a few people. Some of the first COVID 19 restrictions were to close places where God is worshipped, including churches. Apparently it is unhealthy to meet for that purpose. At the same time, bars have been permitted to remain open because it is healthy to give people that outlet. Governments also like to spend tax money on our problems, until the money runs out. I met some people who missed the money train.

We are very secular.

We may not agree with all religion, I don’t, but living without God takes away some of our coping skills. Now we are not dealing well with our problems, and they are growing.

READ: Religious people are happier, study finds

I remember a song from my young life. At the times when it was easy my friends and I to make bad choices, to take the wrong turns, people sang: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Some people still sing that song:

When I see the results of not believing, not trusting God, spreading around me, it is easier to believe.

And I still believe that our God can save the lost souls who are wandering our streets.

What if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us? They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. Praise the LORD, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 24: 2 to 8)

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