I absolutely hate drugs. Let me be more specific. I hate Meth. I hate what it does to your body. I hate how it ruins your relationships; the closer the relationship the more destruction is usually wrought. I hate how the enemy uses it to systematically destroy every single part of your life.
I have lots of friends who are addicts. I grieve their broken state. I grieve for each holiday that is ruined; each family meal that is disrupted by the drug; each potential father/son, mother/daughter moment that is stolen. I grieve all of the years lost to meth.
Think for a moment if Southwest AR suddenly was released from this terrible addiction. If all of a sudden thousands of people re-entered the workforce with clean heads and no bent whatsoever toward drugs. What would it be like to have schools filled with kids who are completely cared for and hospitals empty for lack of addiction related incidents. Surely our police force would still have work to do but their tasks would be greatly minimized if meth and its counterparts were absent. Can you imagine?
For the last month we have been talking about a verse in 2nd Chronicles. We’ve talked about it as a prescription for revival. It says, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” I want us to dream about for just a moment what it would look like for our land to be healed.
The book of Joel was written along these same lines. Most scholars think Joel the prophet wrote sometime after Judah returned from Babylon. He was writing during a time of a serious national disaster that had decimated the grape and grain crops. His words are taken as literal with spiritual overtones. Joel calls for the ministers to weep, asking God to “Spare your people!” He prophesies that God will restore what the disaster has taken. That in that day of restoration and healing everything that has been destroyed will again function and flow. The healing that Joel offers is that God will take away their shame. The greatest gift is that God will pour out His Spirit in those days. Peter quotes these verses in his message at Pentecost and thousands came to Christ. The concept of God’s Spirit restoring what the disaster of sin had taken was captivating for thousands.
When we humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and repent of our sin the Bible says God will hear, forgive our sin and heal our land. This healing must involve the removal of the shame that meth has invited and a widespread pouring out of God’s Spirit. If that happened today Southwest AR would be a completely different place.
Let me direct my words for just a moment to those caught up in the cycle of addiction. God knows your pain. He sees your sin, every part of it, and He is still offering you healing. He loves you so much! Do not lie to yourself any longer. Your addiction is not something you can manage. It has always managed itself. Just because the damage is minimal right now does not mean big time destruction isn’t just around the corner. Everyone in your life feels the weight of your addiction. Don’t play games thinking that you can function well with it. It is time to turn away from it. I know that seems impossible. I know you can’t imagine your life apart from it, but trust me, healing is real. The shame can be gone. The sins can be forgiven. God has made a way through Jesus. Today is the day to lay down your demon and take up the cross. Ask God to forgive you and make you whole. Ask Him to take charge of your life. Ask Him to remove the desire for the drug and replace it with a love for Him and the things that He brings into your life. Ask Him to fill you with His Spirit. He promises He will do these things and so much more. Ask Him and then find someone you trust and tell them the new thing that God has started in your life.
It is too early to tell just yet for sure but I believe the days of healing have begun. I see more and more people on the road to recovery. Mind you it is littered with obstacles and setbacks. Meth is the ugliest tool I’ve ever seen our enemy use first hand. The darkness it plunges its victims into is deep and unmanageable. But the light of Christ is so much brighter, so much more powerful and promises so much victory we cannot just wipe it off the table as another Church scheme. Jesus really does heal. Are we, those who have tasted and seen, willing to do what it takes to open that door for our addicted friends and neighbors?
Real, lasting healing can only come from Christ. We can legislate and enforce that legislation all day long and the problem will only perpetuate itself. We can pour millions of dollars into fighting drugs and feel like we are boxing the air. We can medicate and psycho analyze our friends and only create new addictions. It’s time to stop guessing and start practicing the only sure way out we’ve been offered. Will you join me? Christmas is the perfect time for healing!