Destroyed to Nothingness. Alive series, 26

The new Bethune

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36, NIV2)

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19, NIV2)

Disaster hit Bethune in 1918, when 90% of its main square was destroyed by the Germans. I can only imagine how discouraged its inhabitants must have been. Was there any hope left?

After World War 1, the inhabitants rebuilt their town hall. They made certain that its stone facade would depict various events of triumph of their city. After all, they had survived the cruelty of war, and this was reason to celebrate. In fact, the town was awarded the "Croix de Guerre" (War Cross) and "Légion d'Honneur" (legion of honor) medals for their part in World War 1.

There is an interesting belfry in the town square, dating back to the 14th century. By the time World War 1 came about, this belfry had already burned twice: Once in 1346, and the second time in 1664. Each time it was rebuilt. During the war, however, it was literally beheaded by the German bombings, with the only part left intact being the 16th century base. After the war, it was again rebuilt to its glory, and today the bells still toll every hour on the hour.

The town square looks lovely nowadays, with its many coffee shops and its mixture of eclectic, neo-regional art. The belfry and the town hall are the main attractions, however, and no one would ever be able to know that they were once completely destroyed.

There is hope even amidst despair, and this is true for people as well.

Reality is that anyone can rise out of their self-destructive habits. While enslaved to drugs or other addictions, we tend to feel completely hopeless; but just like Bethune, each of us can be rebuilt to our former glory and beyond.


We can be set free through the One who willingly died for our freedom: Jesus Christ Himself. Nothing else comes close.

Are we controlled by addictions? Jesus will set us free. Are we feeling discouraged? Jesus will bring us Good News. Are we sick? Jesus will heal us. Are we oppressed? We can find the relief that Jesus will give us. After all, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36, NIV2)

Ask an addict if he can set himself free. If he is honest, he will say he tried everything without any success. The more he concentrates on freeing himself of his addiction, the worse his addiction becomes. He has truly become a hopeless prisoner. The only solution to this dilemma is to focus on the One who paid the price for our freedom. The more we focus on Him, the less our addictions will have a stronghold on us. As Jesus becomes real to us, the shackles of addiction will totally disappear. Our Savior guarantees victory. I know this is the truth, as I have personally obtained this victory through Christ.

It's truly upside down human logic, confirmed by: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Prov 3:5-6, NIV2) Our logic will end up in a dead end. Only One can set our path straight.

We now have a choice: to remain in ruins as the addicts that we are, or to look to the One named Hope who will set us completely free. You, too, can be totally freed to find purpose in life. Just like the lovely town of Bethune in France, you can be rebuilt. Your former disaster will be forgotten. Now is the time to rejoice.

Let us always remember: There is always hope, even amidst despair.

Rob Chaffart

The new Bethune

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