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Psalm 103:2-3 – Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases (NIV)
One of the saddest things that I have seen in more than twenty years of ministry is a person who refuses God's help and rejects His healing. I can remember being called to help one young lad, decades ago, who was addicted to booze and drugs. He had a supportive, loving wife and a wonderful wee two-year-old son.
I had worked with him for a couple of years, and he seemed to be steering his life back in the right direction. Whenever the manse needed painted or a room decorated, Evelyn and I would ask him to do it. He needed the money, and because the minister was willing to let him decorate his home, other people in the church gave this young decorator opportunities to do the same. He started to make a business for himself and things were looking up.
But then, in the midst of all of this joy and restoration, the spectre of addiction eased its way back into his life. He tried to control it and was successful at first. Because I had been an addict too, I gave him a lot of support. The sadness is that his addiction proved stronger than his friendship and faith, his family and his work. I pleaded with him, along with his wife, to get into a recovery program, but he wouldn't do it. He enjoyed the booze and the drugs too much. Eventually, he lost everything: his wife and son, his business and customers, his church and faith.
Benjamin Franklin once said, "God helps those who help themselves." You won't find that in the Bible because God often helps those who can't help themselves. But when people make bad choices and choose drugs and alcohol over friends and family, it's very difficult for God to enable that person to recover. The young lad denied he had a problem and ended up deceiving himself, dividing his family, and diminishing his faith. It was one of the saddest things that I have ever seen. And it still grieves my heart when I see those same kinds of things happening in other young lives today.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we all know those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, to self-deception and self-destruction. We pray that You will protect them and enable them to see the error of their ways. When the bottle is empty and the "fix" is over, enter into their hearts and minds, and make them see what they are doing to themselves, their families, and their friends. Guide them to Your goodness, and restore them to Your love. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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