I heard recently about a man I know in another state. He has struggled for most of his life with various forms of addiction, primarily addiction to drugs. “An amazing thing happened,” his family member told me. “He knew that his life was coming apart and that he couldn’t go on the way he was. His life was hopeless and unmanageable; he had truly hit bottom. He was on his knees, crying out for God to take away his urge to use. Miraculously, God did just that! He walked away from decades of addiction and began to live a new life, clean and sober.”
This is where this man’s story takes an unexpected turn. His family member went on: “Now he is away from the drugs. He even quit smoking because it kept him from being around a family member who has health problems. The only problem? He is depressed and finds nothing joyful in life.”
As I heard that description, I was reminded of things I was taught over the years. An addict becomes consumed with getting whatever feeds her or his addiction. All of life is focused on getting the next fix, the next high, or the next drink. Feeding the addiction is what the addict lives for. That means that this man was living in the miracle of no longer desiring the chemicals that once used to make him feel “normal,” while at the same time losing his purpose to keep going every day. And He is miserable!
Talk about being stuck!
Before I go on with his story, what about you? Is it possible that you are stuck on the road of life? Did you get this far, only to begin wondering if you can move any further? Or, like the Israelis during the days of Moses, have you been delivered from slavery to Egypt only to quit believing in the promised land? Their wilderness was so miserable and their unbelief so severe, that they tried to go back to slavery rather than face the hardship of carving out new lives. Is that you?
- Did your dream of a family turn into a nightmare?
- Did the dashed hopes for your marriage leave you believing that you can never find relational joy?
- Did that “perfect job” end up destroying your soul or your health?
- Did the trials of following Jesus somehow blur your memory of the hope He once gave you?
In the case of the man who got free from his chemical addiction, the blessing of taking away his dependence became the curse of taking away his reason for living. I was reminded of Jesus’ words: "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 (New Living Translation) Somehow, this man has been trapped between what the thief had been doing to him and what Jesus promised to do for him.
The answer to this man’s stuck condition is right in front of him. His past and his changed life are the very things that are needed to help others who are struggling. He needs to discover the joy that God can use him because of his past, rather than in spite of it. Romans 8:28 (look it up!) always holds true!
We just finished a 12-week series called “Why Bother? This Stuff Matters!” As we have covered the high points of Christian belief and a Biblical worldview, I have been able to spend most of the summer on the sidelines at Stone Ridge Church. I return, refreshed and ready to talk about “Unstuck!” Our series begins this weekend and I am excited to share it with you. If you can’t make it, please catch our podcast!