The Two-State Solution Isn’t One

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The obsession of many international politicians with a two-state solution in the Middle East is largely motivated by cynical, domestic political damage control. As a solution, the two-state solution is dead on arrival.

I am very pessimistic about the attitude of most politicians towards military conflicts and political or other crises abroad:

They make proposals for solutions that will not work but are meant to show their voters that they (the politicians) are not just sittin on their behinds and perhaps also bring a short-term relaxation so that the terrible images disappear from their voters’ TV screens, and which ideally do not produce any domestic political problems. Whether these “solutions” are viable in the long term or even worsen the situation in the longer view is not so important, because “by then I will have long been out of office, and others may worry about it.”

We see this in the attitude of many politicians and governments towards the current conflict in Gaza and their proposed solutions:

Apart from the absolutely necessary short-term measures to avert a hunger disaster (and the delay of which is primarily blamed on Israel, although the well-known facts suggest otherwise[1]), nearly all major international actors (USA, EU, UN, etc.) are pushing the so-called “two-state solution”, which would give the Palestinians their own state (in Gaza and the “West Bank”). This approach has only one serious disadvantage that will torpedo its implementation from the outset:

The “two-state solution” is rejected by the majority of both the Israeli and Palestinian populations (with over 70% each) — this according to current surveys by Israeli and Palestinian pollsters.

Palestinian leaders repeat—almost  like a mantra—the supposed command of the Prophet to annihilate the Jews and their own claim to the land “from the river to the sea” — but only on Arabic media channels, to the West they convey a different image. According to a current survey – by Palestinian pollsters – 73% of the population of Gaza approve of the massacre on October 7th, despite the immense suffering it has brought over them[2].

The Israeli population was predominantly in favor of a two-state solution in the 1990s; the continued Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist, as well as about 30 years of continuous shelling of Israeli villages and cities and countless other terrorist attacks, with the climax on October 7th, have turned this approval into rejection: The trust of Israelis of all political stripes that there could be a relatively peaceful coexistence or even just cohabitation with a Palestinian state is virtually at zero. A survey from February showed that 44% of Israelis believe that terrorism would increase if a Palestinian state were realized; in a survey at the beginning of this month, 79% of Jewish Israelis and 39% of Arab Israelis agreed with the statement, “There is no chance for a peace agreement with the Palestinians in the foreseeable future.” After October 7th, a two-state solution is seen as a reward for terrorism.

The obsession of many international politicians with a two-state solution clearly contradicts the will of the Israeli public and certainly does not match what the Palestinians want. It is primarily motivated by a cynical desire for domestic political damage limitation[3].

Sources for this article: “Who Wants a Two-State Solution? Not Israelis or Palestinians” by Israel Kasnett in “Israel Today“, March 22, 2024, as well as my extensive reading and media following on the topic.



  1. Israel’s position is clear and justified: a ceasefire and thus easier provisioning in exchange for the release of the hostages from October 7th; so far, Hamas has demanded a permanent end to hostilities; there seems to be some movement on this issue now. Moreover, blaming Israel seems to be generally de rigueur: Although it is an open secret that Hamas embeds its terror infrastructure within civilian facilities and residential areas, and partly prevents the civilian population from seeking safety in order to propagandistically exploit the inevitable civilian casualties, and that Hamas seizes a significant portion of the international aid payments and deliveries to arm themselves and supply their fighters, and although the civilian casualty numbers, as published daily by the Health Ministry in Gaza, are statistically impossible and therefore unlikely (after all, the Health Ministry, like all official Gaza, is in the hands of Hamas), everything that comes from there is taken at face value by most international media and politicians, and Israel is blamed for the suffering of the civilian population[]
  2. From the Palestinian perspective, what was done on October 7th was simply obeying what they believe to be the Prophet’s instruction (namely, killing Jews), so they naturally see the Israeli counterstrike as completely unjustified.[]
  3. Currently in the USA, it’s about limiting the loss of votes in the presidential election in November ’24.[]
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Politics or God — Whom do we trust?

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A guest post by James Kushiner of Touchstone Magazine

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish
that which I please, and it shall prosper
in the thing whereto I sent it.

The future is the only thing in man’s field of vision that appears enticingly within his power to shape. So the present is dominated by plans for and promises about “the future.”

This is all grist for the rhetoric that will dominate media in another election year in the U.S. (where it officially began this past Monday) as well as in other countries. Candidates talk about what they will do in the future to change things for the better. The only problem is they can rarely deliver on their promises.

This does not stop the promises and predictions. Some of the predictions are also of what will happen if one’s political opponent is elected instead. Sometimes a candidate really believes he will be able to stop crime and lower taxes. At other times, a candidate will just say what he thinks he needs to say to get elected, and then, once in power, do what he wants, not keeping to his previous script.

In other words, “Put not your trust in princes, in the sons of men in whom there is no salvation.” Even the best, honest, and wisest candidate cannot control the future. And any president or prime minister may find himself (and his country) in circumstances not previously envisioned or prepared for (e.g., George W. Bush on 9/11 or Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 7). We cannot announce the future—unless we are a prophet.

Our grasp of the future is illusory, unless we base it on the Word of God. By that I mean recognizing not only that God alone has the final say, but that he has also shown himself to be clear about what will happen in the future, unlike the sons of men and unlike their adversary, the devil, who lies about the future to deceive us.

The adversary told Eve “you will surely not die” if the forbidden fruit was eaten, and “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” A proposal was made with an assurance. Well, Man does, sort of, know good and evil in that he experiences them, but surely does not know what to make of evil or how to explain it to our satisfaction.

God, on the other hand, from Genesis on, clearly announced to man what he will do and what the consequences will be for man for the deeds man does. To Adam and Eve, he declared, “In the day the you eat of [the tree of knowledge] you shall surely die.”

Prior to the Fall, God needed to make no promise to mankind; only directives: “Be fruitful and multiply…I have given you every green plan for food.” It was all “very good.”

But after the disobedience, God began weaving a lifeline for man, who had severed himself from God like an astronaut drifting off into deep and deadly space. God began to speak of what he would do in the future; he made promises, in the form of covenants. “I will put enmity between you and the woman…her offspring…shall bruise your head.”

He made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; promised a scepter to Judah; promised deliverance from Egypt to Moses, and a ruler of the line of David to redeem and save us. In all cases, God is able to call the shot, make it happen, and retrieve mankind from the jaws of death.

We have a choice: to place full confidence in God or mammon; in the Lord or the rulers of the earth. God has announced that the end of men’s delusions will come and none of their schemes will abide, while the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of Christ.

Modern man denigrates all this as “pie-in-the-sky” religion. Perhaps he has it backwards: politics is pie-in-the-sky optimism. God delivers. He has not hidden his purposes. He warned Israel that they would suffer in the Land if they did not keep the commandments. That they would be exiled. The Lord said not one stone of the Temple would remain on another and all would be swept away. He said, and we confess, that he will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, that his kingdom shall have no end. That is our anchor.

Who are you going to believe? Trust? Jesus said he would build his church. He did that. It struggles when it is faithless and sins (as warned), and shines when faithful to the Word and commandments of God. No other ruler can claim such an influence on the world, and Christ is not done yet. He is coming to clean house and make a final end to the devil and his works.

That’s the only right side of history to be on.

James Kushiner is Director of Publications for Touchstone Magazine — A Journal of Mere Christianity.

This article was first published in First Things’ e-mail newsletter for subscribers, on Jan. 20, 2024.

Copyright C 2024 by James Kushiner and Fellowship of St. James. Used by permission.

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Beware of Amazon (and other) Scams

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Because a friend just asked for advice:

Phone calls ostensibly from Amazon, asking to verify an order for an expensive gift card you supposedly ordered, are a scam, regardless of which confidential information the caller seems to have about you.

NEVER reveal information such a passwords credit card, CVV, or bank account numbers, and never send a copy of any form of ID. If the caller seemed to actually know your credit card nunber, immediately call your bank to block this card and ask them to replace it with a different card (and number), and also report this incident to the police. Also, book a support call-back from Amazon and report it to them.

NO REPUTABLE BANK OR ONLINE VENDOR will ever ask for such confidential information over the phone.

A few other popular scams:

• Calls ostensibly from Microsoft support. Microsoft makes NO unsolicited phone calls to customers.

• E-mails claiming to be from a friend or acquaintance who’s in major difficulties and immediately needs a large sum of money in cash.

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West Bank Settler Violence Discredits and Harms Israel

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Despite my support for Israel, and perhaps even because of it, I deplore the increase of Israeli settler violence against the local Palestinian population in the West Bank since the Hamas massacre.

While the desire to exact revenge for the atrocities committed against innocent men, women and children, even babies and old folks, on October 7 is humanly understandable, the folks in the West Bank were not the perpetrators, and vigilante-style violence unchecked by police and military is wrong and dangerous.

By tolerating it rather than cacking down on it Israel risks joining its enemies in the moral gutter, and also risks losing the support of its allies.

While Israel is currently a secular state, the settlers in the Westbank appeal to God’s promise of the Land to the people of Israel; they should not forget and ignore that the same God said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”

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After the 7th October, 2023

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We read a lot about the hostages and other victims of the Hamas massacre in the south of Israel; here is an account how one resident of Jerusalem experienced October 7 and the days following it.

Tania Hammer[1] writes from Jerusalem:

For I desire loving kindness, not sacrifices;
devotion to God, rather than burnt offerings.

(Hosea 6:6).

Seven years ago, I moved from New York to Jerusalem. In these good years, I have hosted thousands of sabbath meals for travelers from every part of the world. Christians from the United States, participants in the Shabbat of a Lifetime program, have sung in my garden. A young Muslim man, a “lone soldier”—a member of the IDF without family in Israel—adopted me, or rather, I adopted him. People without family or connections are cherished in my home. Israel has welcomed me as a daughter, and I welcome newcomers as a sister. 

On October 7, the sabbath of the Rejoicing of the Torah, I wake early, to pray in quiet as the sun rises over the holy city. At 6:30 a.m. a siren sounds. I have heard only one siren in my seven years in Jerusalem. Another siren sounds at 8:30 a.m. I knock on a neighbor’s door. She has tears in her eyes; the television is at full volume. Even though I am a religious Jew and we do not watch television on the sabbath, my eyes are on the screen. Hamas has invaded the south. The impenetrable fence built to protect our communities on the Gaza border is gone.

The screen delivers its deluge. Mutilated, Be’eri, rapes, Nirim, hostages, Nova music festival, burned alive, Alumim, decapitations, Re’im, Hamas, dead babies. Words and sirens swirl in my head as I hide in the secure room. Another siren. Another. Another. Twelve in all. 

By Saturday night we are in the midst of a Jewish catastrophe. Fourteen hundred of our people are dead. Five thousand wounded. About 242 abducted, held hostage.  

Sunday, October 8. I rise early, as always, to pray. The country is mobilizing—three hundred thousand soldiers. The women in my neighborhood and I will mobilize loving kindness.

We decide to pack essentials for our people in uniform. They left home on the sabbath with nothing; we will fill their bags with things and with love. My women and I go to a pharmacy warehouse to get soaps, shampoos, feminine products, toothbrushes, toothpaste, wet wipes, and protein bars. I think fifty of each will do the trick. “Let’s get a hundred and see how we go,” one friend says.

We unload everything into my sukkah, the temporary dwelling I had built for the Festival of Tabernacles. The sukkah reminds us of our impermanence on earth. It is a reminder that we now understand, perhaps for the first time. 

I put a notice online that I am collecting essentials for our defenders in uniform. Within an hour, I receive substantial contributions from people who want to be a part of our “Packages of Love.” That’s what my women and I decide to call our project. One hundred bars of soap turn into one thousand. Hundreds of volunteers come in and out of my house, my garden, the sukkah. By nightfall, we have over a thousand packages.

Israel conscripts women. I decide that their packages will be wrapped in bright pink shopping bags from Rami Levi, a large chain store. They need their own things, and they’re going to have them in pink. We deliver the packages to the Lone Soldier centers for distribution.

Monday, October 9. Through the night and into the morning, supplies arrive at my doorstep. Volunteers from all over the world come and contribute their time and money, people I haven’t seen in a decade or have never seen before. School is canceled and we give the children paper and colored pens to write to our women and men in uniform. Our sisters, daughters, sons, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins. This is not a war in a remote region—it is a war waged by our families at and in our homes, a war for our existence. 

Thousands of tourists who have come on pilgrimage for the Festival of Tabernacles are stranded, their flights canceled. The peaceful country they came to visit has become a country at war. They arrive at my home with gifts. We crank up the music; adults and children are happy to be doing something good in the face of evil, to have purpose. 

I receive a picture of our young people in uniform holding my packages. My heart sings. 

As new images of Hamas atrocities are broadcast, morale in the country and in my micro-operation falls. Though I am exhausted, I redouble my efforts. 

At Rami Levi, Arabs are joking with Jews, workers and customers alike. I tell everyone my shopping cart is for our defenders. An Arab tells me, “My son is fighting for Israel in Gaza now, pray for him too.” I show the cashier the packages we have made, and she tears up. “Your son will get a package too,” I tell her. She gives me a hug.

Monday ends. One thousand more packages. 

Tuesday, October 10. We are setting up tables, preparing for volunteers to begin. Even when we are quiet, our thoughts are with the fallen, the hostages, those incomprehensible images, our grieving people. Holy Bagel arrives with meals for all of us, gifted by a volunteer. British visitors come with more bagels for lunch. A volunteer from yesterday finds me in the kitchen and hands me a beautiful bouquet. 

I go outside to see how things are progressing and find men of all ages bagging pads and tampons neatly for the women’s pink packages. They are chatting away. These men are professionals visiting from New York, “stuck” here until they can get a flight out. They are putting themselves to good use. 

Volunteers come and go between funerals and shiva houses of mourning and blood drives. One is going to an “emergency” wedding. The couple was supposed to get married next month, but they moved up the wedding so that the groom wouldn’t get drafted. His wedding was supposed to be a lavish affair, with over three hundred guests. Instead, there are fifty people with bread rolls and dips.

At the end of the day, three hundred more boxes of supplies arrive, all donated. More are expected to arrive tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 11. The exhaustion is unlike any I have experienced. This project was as much for the volunteers as it was for our defenders. Whether people arrived with one toothbrush or a truckful, whether they stayed for a half hour or came every day, every single one of them made a difference. The project grew wings. 

Four days. Over five thousand packages, over $25,000 donated, over five hundred volunteers. 

On Thursday, October 12, I reclaim my house, tidy and clean, listen to music. On Friday, I go shopping on the Bethlehem Road and buy something from every shop. I want to support my local businesses, which will be devastated by this war. I go to my newspaper shop and the son of the proprietor who helps him on Fridays is there. He might be drafted next week, but for now he gets another sabbath with his family.  

I wish a Shabbat shalom, a sabbath of peace, to all of Jerusalem. I light the usual candles and an an extra one for the precious kidnapped souls in Gaza. We are at war, but these past few days of witnessing the love and gratitude of all who volunteered fill me with a bit of peace. “Be strong and resolute; do not be terrified or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9).

This article was first published on November 14, 2023 by First Things.
Copyright © 2023 by Tania Hammer and First Things. Used by permission.

  1. Tania Hammer grew up in Sydney, Australia, moved to New York when she was 22 and found herself in Israel for her 50th birthday – an Aliyah dream come true! She works at a gallery in Jerusalem and is a student of life. Tania is an Orthodox woman with a progressive take on Torah. She started a popular Facebook group for Anglo divorcees and widow/ers called SDEI. But her crowning glory is her daughter on whose footsteps she followed to come to Israel.[]
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British author and journalist Douglas Murray was asked on Talk TV whether Israel’s strikes in the Gaza Strip constitute a “reasonable, proportionate and moral response”.

Murray replied, “There is some deep perversion in Britain whenever Israel is involved in a conflict, and it is the word you just used: Proportion, proportionate, proportionality. Only Britain is really obsessed with this. I’ve heard in for the last few days incessantly.”

“Proportionality in conflict rarely exists,” he stated, and then explained that insisting on a proportionate response “would mean that, in retaliation for what Hamas did in Israel on October 7th Israel should try to locate a music festival in Gaza, for instance – and good luck with that – and rape precisely the number of women that Hamas raped on Saturday. Kill precisely the number of young people that Hamas killed on Saturday. They should find a town of exactly the same size as a town like Sderot, and make sure they go door-to-door and kill precisely the correct number of babies that Hamas killed in Sderot on Saturday, and shoot in the head precisely the same number of old age pensioners as were shot in Sderot on Saturday, just to choose one town.”

“Proportionality in conflict is a joke, and it’s a very strange British concept which we’ve had, that only the Israelis in the conflict, when they are attacked, are expected to have precisely the proportionate response,” added Murray.

And I (Wolf Paul) would add:

This is, unfortunately, not a specifically British problem; the entire West and of course the United Nations demand this, especially from Israel.

The civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip in the weeks since October 7 are largely attributable to Hamas, which places its terror facilities (which are legitimate targets under the laws of war) amid the civilian population, in and under schools and hospitals, in order to then present the world with the corpses of dead civilians, including children, as evidence of Israeli war crimes. And when the Israeli army, incidentally the only one in the world, warns civilians of impending attacks, they are sometimes prevented by Hamas from seeking safety.

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Final Solution Welcome?

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I notice a sharp increase of news reporting extremely critical of Israel and sympathetic to the Palestinians of Gaza and am trying to wrap my head around what that means.

I think what it comes down to is this:

The state of Israel has since its establishment by the UN in 1948 always faced violent opposition from the Arab and other Islamic states surrounding it, as well as from terrorist groups in Gaza and the Westbank for whom the destruction and elimination of Israel is the ultimate goal[1]. Nevertheless, Israel is not allowed to take any action in its own defence which might cause collateral damage in the form of civilian casualties.

In a normal war situation (if war is ever normal) an enemy’s military infrastructure is a legitimate target but here we have a situation, which most recently started when the terrorist group Hamas, which inexplicably, enjoys a high level of popular support in Gaza, snuck into Israel, killing and mutilating 1400 mostly civilians and kidnapping over 200 (men, women, even the elderly and babies).

The Hamas terrorists use Gaza’s civilians as human shields by embedding all of its “military” infrastructure in the civilian population, placing it near, in, and under hospitals, schools, and residential neighbourhoods, so that any military action to rescue these more than 200 hostages or to eliminate this terror group would cause a heavy toll of civilian casualties. Additionally, when Israel’s army warns the civilian population in the vicinity of a legitimate military target to evacuate[2], Hamas prevents civilians from leaving; after all, they’d be losing their human shields, not to mention the effective propaganda tool of photos of dead civilians.

Thus, if Israel does take military action and there are civilian casualties, the international community blames Israel for these civilian casualties rather than blaming the Hamas terrorists. 

The only inference I can draw from that is that, whether they openly admit it or not, eventually a majority of the international community will be quite o.k. with the elimination of the “Palestinian problem” via the destruction of Israel: this will be considered an acceptable “Endlösung“. We’re not quite there yet, but that’s the direction it’s going.

Let me make a prediction: This won’t solve the Palestinian problem.  If Hamas achieves its goal of eliminating Israel and then controls a “judenfrei”  territory “from the river to the sea“, Palestine will be anything but free; it will be a repressive Islamist state similar to Iran. And Hamas, whose entire raison d’etre is jihad, will find other targets for its violence, most likely in Europe and North America.

  1. This goal is clearly spelled out in Hamas’ charta.[]
  2. The Israeli army, IDF, is the only army in the world to do this.[]
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The Crisis of post-Christian Culture

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A very interesting and provocative video from Catholic podcaster and former Anglican priest, Gavin Ashenden[1]:

«The great flaw in the defence of Western civilization seems to be that it’s abandoned the faith which created it: Christendom. It voluntarily and energetically orphaned itself from Christianity. Christians and liberal secularists are going to face a serious challenge this coming remembrance weekend, when, as seems likely, Islamic protests “spill over” to confront the vestiges of remembrancee culture.

Will all the secularists realize that pleasure-seeking consumerism isn’t powerful enough, ideologically, to provide boundaries to contain Islamic expansionism and missionary ambition? They refused to think this so far. And if the secularists wake up to their own limitations and existential instability, which way then will they turn?

They will only have three possibilities:

  • More secular pseudo progress with the dragon eating its own tail, slipping into increasing incoherence and contradiction as the DIE (diversity, inclusion, and equity) agenda sucks it into a growing totalitarian madness;
  • or Islam itself, promising, once again, other forms of totalitarian control such as we find in Iran;
  • or, thirdly, Christianity and Christian culture, where freedom of conscience, freedom of choice, the dignity of the individual made in God’s image, the priority of forgiveness, and the promise of those basic freedoms we’ve taken for granted, is offered

  1. Gavin Ashenden is a former Anglican priest who four years ago joined the Roman Catholic Church, being disillusioned by the increasing revisionism of the Church of England. Now a layman, he writes and podcasts on current issues in the church and in the world.[]
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The West: Lacking Convictions

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In this panel discussion at the ARC conference in London this month Greg Sheridan pointed out that all those on the world stage hostile to the democratic West (China, Russia, Iran, as well as their prixies) are led by people of deep religious or ideological convictions, and that we are taken by surprise by their actions because we don’t understand these convictions.

In reply, historian Niall Ferguson hit the nail on the head by saying, in part,

“Part of the difficulty we have in understanding conviction, ideological conviction, is that we have none. It’s very hard to understand that kind of motivation if your belief system has become so eroded that it becomes at best a cost-benefit analysis problem.”

I don’t agree with everything said at this conference, but the talks and panels are very interesting and well worth listening to:

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Some Thoughts on Current Events

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A guest post by James M. Kushiner[1] of Touchstone[2] magazine.
“Let my prayer come before thee:
incline thine ear to my cry;
For my soul is full of troubles;
and my life draweth nigh to the grave.”

Good news seems hard to come by. That’s likely due to paying too much attention to “current events” versus the Eternal Event of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Of course, current events do matter. Only hearts of stone can ignore the human suffering from the recent violence and tragedy overflowing from the abyss of human depravity and sin: the brutal slaughter of civilians by Hamas; the killing of eighteen in Lewiston, Maine by a mentally-disturbed resident; the deaths of civilians from rocket attacks in Israel and the Gaza Strip and in Ukraine. Closer to home, a 6-year old of a Muslim family was fatally shot by a man who wanted to kill Muslims after the Hamas attack; and the weekly killing of young Chicagoans by other young Chicagoans with guns.

In each such incident, the lives of survivors are shattered, trauma sets in, and the shadow of evil clouds out the light of life. Parents grieve for slain children, spouses for lost spouses; funerals are haunted by the spectre of the cruelty of violence. The media reports some facts but can explain little if anything ultimately about “why.” The evil is real and man on his own has no cure.

The wounds retained by the living at best may be partially healed, leaving scars. At worst, wounds fester and develop into deeper wounds, spiraling into depression, addiction, even loss of life. The therapy on offer for many is a bandage, which can soothe symptoms but not ultimately heal.

The most common thought for many must be, “Where is God?” How God, as they conceive him, fits into what they’ve just experienced, is out of reach.

Thinking about such things sent me back to an article by Stephen Muse published ten years ago in Touchstone: “No Dead Man’s Prayer: on the Suffering of Faith & the Paradox of Psalm 88.” It is the darkest of psalms in the sense that there is only the thinnest hope, glimpsed in the beginning address: “O Lord, God of my salvation…” But this is followed hard by a catalog of complaints and sufferings often attributed to God: “You have put me in the depths of the pit….You have caused my companions to shun me…” and the psalm ends with darkness.

The history of Israel does not run from glory to glory, although glory does break through. And when it does, it is a glory that shines as a fixed reference point, a glory that will not be denied, the source of the sure promises of redemption and salvation that will be fulfilled while all the dross and evil of this world will be consumed, when God himself “will wipe every tear from their eyes.” The world without God is simply dark.

The skeptics and the atheists call this pie-in-the-sky. But there are those among the living today who know it is true. They have suffered abuse, trauma, affliction, heartache and loss, but found genuine healing in the never-waning love of Christ that shines through the Scriptures, the Psalms, the hymns, and the lives of others and saints in the company called the Church. They have faith, as Stephen Muse wrote: “… real faith is more like what a recovering crack addict once told me, ‘You don’t know you have faith until faith is all you’ve got.’”

Sometimes we are not strong enough to get help. Faith is hard. We feel paralyzed, unable to act. We might identify with the paralytic in Mark, who was lowered by his friends through a hole in the roof into the jam-packed room in which Jesus was preaching. “And when Jesus saw their faith” he announced the forgiveness of the paralytic’s sins, then said, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” The paralytic had just enough faith to submit to his friends’ desperate attempt to see him made whole.

If we have little faith at times, we are surrounded by eternal friends in Christ. We can reach out to others who trust Christ. We can trust in Christ’s own faith and cling to him. Hurt, wounded, angry, confused—we can enter where two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, a church where the Psalms are prayed. Listen to the Gospel. Hear and say the words spoken by so many in the Gospels and throughout the world for millennia: Kyrie, eleison! Lord, have mercy! For he is philanthropos, the Lover of Mankind. With him we find mercy in the darkest of times.

This article by James M. Kushiner was first published in the November 2023 Touchstone email newsletter. Copyright ©2023 by Fellowship of St. James. Posted here by permission.


  1. James M. Kushiner is editor emeritus of Touchstone and Director of Publications at the Fellowship of St. James.[]
  2. Touchstone, “A Journal of Mere Christianity”, is published by the Fellowship of St. James and focuses on that traditional core of the historic Christian faith which unites us across denominations and ecclesial traditions.[]
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