There are many things in the Bible I don’t understand but one part I’m absolutely 100% in disagreement with. 1 Corinthians 15:19 says: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, makes me feel like my faith is only good for a future hope in an after-life with Christ. It sounds like choosing to be a Christian is a sad, sorry choice that leaves me to be looked upon with pity.
Why would the apostle Paul write that? Why would he think if our hope was only for this world we ought to be the most pitied of all people? I suspect it’s because he was who he was. I suspect many of my brothers and sisters feel the same way. I suspect for them; the words are true, this life is less than what they can imagine in heaven. This life is full of pain and sorrow, rules and restrictions. I don’t fault them for their ideals, but for me, maybe for all recovering addicts, if only for this life I have hope in Christ I’m not to be pitied, I think I ought to be admired.
Let me explain…
Seventeen years ago this month, I was a drug addict, a pretty bad one actually. I smoked weed daily, most days multiple times a day. My rule was, as long as I wasn’t doing it in the same room as my infant and toddler boys I was being a responsible parent. It wasn’t just weed either. There were random Coke parties, with a little Crack thrown in for good measure, there were pill parties… I still don’t know what I took at most of those. Then there was Meth, ohhhhh, how I loved those beautiful chunky rocks that cut into the perfect powdery lines of heaven! The rules were a little more flex with Meth. As long as I wasn’t smoking it, the kids couldn’t get a contact high, and it’s not like a blind toddler or innocent infant even knew what their mom was doing anyway, right?! So most of the time I was in another room, but I’m not going to lie, there were times, I was shoving something up my nose with my kids or someone else’s in the same room.
That wasn’t so bad, really, that was the good part! The high, the deep thinking, sensual feeling, all night tweaking, goosebump-having, heart racing, body shaking, highs were quite lovely. I loved them. I craved them. I needed them. I was devoted to them. They mattered more than my boys, my family, my friends, my safety, my self-respect, more than anything. I would lie, cheat and steal for my fix. … and then the crash or the end of the stash always came.
I hated that… being out, fiending, knowing I needed a fix that I couldn’t get. Knowing what would come without it. Worrying, crying, fighting, screaming, begging for more. Swearing to myself and a God that, at the time, I questioned existence in, that I’d get clean and never, ever, ever do it again… after this one last time. Always after this one time.
And then the month of May came…
In this month seventeen years ago I traded my sorrow, my shame, my sickness, my Pain, my addiction for a slow waxing faith in the One true King. I believe we are spiritual beings and in a God that is more than just for this life. I believe in a risen Savior that came to give us a new life in the hereafter. But I also believe that in this month, seventeen years ago He reached down, in His sovereignty, into my life. I heard no audible words, saw no visions, signs or supernatural hoopla, just a simple, silent nudging at my heart one gentle evening after I’d put my boys down for the night for yet another episode of debaucherous festivities.
It was a chance at freedom. One shot. I felt it in my blood and bones and heart and withered soul. I wasn’t out of my stash, I wasn’t fiending, I wasn’t withdrawing, it was a pretty sweet stretch for what life was for me at the time. But I knew God was giving me a chance… and so… I took it!
The second chance, not the hit.
I passed, just like that, I said no thanks. I started a new life, clean. It was a whirlwind. But if only for this life I would take Christ’s offer over and over again. See, I don't think Paul's words are necessarily wrong so much as they are spoken from a man who probably never knew addiction, but rules and legalism. To be bound to the rule of a God may seem like a thing to be pitied, unless you've been fettered to a force much more sinister and unforgiving. I was a slave, I am free now. My worst days, (there have been three that really tip the scale since choosing Christ), even those three absolute worst days are a walk in the park compared to the way I was before. If only for this life I am saved, I am grateful. I am a rare and wonderful statistic of overcoming methamphetamine addiction. It all comes down to a man dying on a cross, saving the world and one little, tiny soul that will ever and always be grateful and pledge my allegiance to Him for this second chance. May I use it well!
On to 18 years clean!
Because addiction is near and dear to my heart, it makes sense one of my real-life romances would center around addiction and overcoming. My books, as they are now, will only be on sale through May 31st. If you've meant to get them, this is the last chance as they are. I will be working to re-publish and while I'm determined I'm not super fast so it might be a while. All that to say, get 'em now or wait on me, haha!
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