Months have gone by but I still think of that evening.
I read a viral post that told the story of an incident involving very poor thinking, drugs, and an arrest. I never once considered making a snide remark, but I laughed as I read. The author was very engaging! And, he told the story from a comedic standpoint.
I'm sorry now that I joined the ranks of those that made light of your struggle. I should have risen above and bypassed the story. I didn't. Even though I have loved ones who have thrown so much away to follow a different path, I fell in with the crowd.
I never once gave a thought about you. That was cruel. I am sorry.
That changed when I saw your Mom come to your defense a day or so later. Actually, to be honest, I didn't even see the interview. I just read the headline. I couldn't tell you now what it read but it was enough to put things in perspective for me.
I had an immediate change of heart.
I was overcome with sadness for you and your family. I realized that post and the unkindness of the remarks must have damaged your very soul. I had not given a thought to that while reading the post. I think it was because I don't know you, personally. Your picture was just an image accompanying a social media post.
It was then that I looked at your face with the eyes of someone who cares about you.
I was ashamed of my initial reaction. This thing that is consuming you, causing you to make such poor decisions, isn't funny. Something is amiss in your life, would you agree?
Whatever brought you to this point, you aren't alone. Millions of people—in this nation alone—have sought the wrong solution to ease their pain or heal their hearts and found themselves in a big mess.
You are not just some image.
You are a child of God.
He knows your name and I hope you know that. If you don't, I'm praying that he puts someone directly in your path to share the good news. I'm certain he'll do it. How you respond is the key.
But for the Grace of God Go I
In today's world, if we aren't living some form of your life, we know and love someone who is. Truth be told, most of us don't just know one person struggling with a substance abuse problem, but more.
Addiction is a scourge that destroys lives. It destroys families.
All the time.
It's been determined in study after study that DNA make-up can make us prone to addiction. As a matter of fact, 50% of addicts are genetically predisposed to it. The other 50% begin to use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism to get them through uncomfortable situations. After time, addition takes hold as our bodies and minds become dependent on the substance of choice.
While many people get caught up in addiction through embarking in the "Let's Party!" lifestyle adopted by many teens and young adults, that's not always the case.
Some people had never desired to use drugs and found themselves craving the pain killers after that post surgery script ran out. Some turned to the street when the doctor said no more. The expense often causes users to turn to heroin as a cheaper fix.
Using drugs and alcohol to "fit in" is never a wise plan of action, but we do it. Life can be a terrifying place. Anxiety is held at bay when you're buzzed. It becomes ingrained in us as a lifestyle, though. And, most drugs require larger and larger doses to maintain the high the user seeks.
The danger of overdose is great. The numbers grow higher every year. In 2017, 70,237 people died from a drug overdose. The vast majority of them, of course, didn't intend to die.
When there's nowhere to go but up
It's heartbreaking to watch someone we love spiral downward into the darkness that is addiction. The knowledge that there's nothing we can do until the person is ready to seek help is terrifying.
But there is something we can do—In fact, we have a mighty weapon.
We can pray.
It's called an intercessory prayer.
I've learned over the years that God likes it when we pray the Word. So I'm echoing Paul's prayer for the Ephesians for all of us here and now. Whether we suffer with addiction or are living the nightmare of watching someone we love sink lower and lower into its darkness, we could all stand to feel the power of God surging through our veins.
Here we go, then. The prayer is found in the Book of Ephesians, chapter 3, verses 14-21. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!"
I'll keep praying that you—we—grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
It truly is a love that surpasses all understanding.
He knows the mess that we are and wants to love us through it. In the process, we find out who we are in Him. Through our belief in Him, we're made worthy of seeking a personal relationship with God, the Father.
It doesn't matter what you're struggling with—we all have something—when we stand firm in our belief that God Almighty, Himself, wants to be a part of our lives, we can face anything. And, we're going to come through stronger on the other side.
It's God who will break the cycle. We just need to believe it with every fiber of our being and hold fast.
Don't let go.
You'll discover that he has a plan for your life and it's good.
See you next time.