“I had to keep on trying to believe that I am someone worth dying for.”
That is how one man described his journey through alcoholism and to the foot of the cross. He spoke of the shame and self- hate he felt, the broken lives left in his trail of alcohol abuse, the despair that overwhelmed him as he battled with his addiction…and lost. Finally after hitting rock bottom he reached out for help and found much, much more. He found grace.
This is one of the stories I heard on the weekend I spent at a men’s retreat in Brentwood, Long Island, New York. It was a gathering of around 35 men, most of whom were recovering from the icy grip of drug or alcohol addiction. Their stories were wrenching, their lives filled with brokenness and sin and failure; but their failure led them to the cross, and the cross led them to victory. Of course, the victory involved caring people often with tough love, and wise choices always with great effort, and time…time…and more time to develop new patterns and a new and healthy lifestyle. But for each person who shared it was the power of God that lifted them above their living death to a new and vibrant life. Without God- His church, His grace, His Word in Scripture and presence in prayer, and His ongoing love and guidance, they could not have made it. It was when they accepted that most basic reality of life that they found life: that they were someone worth dying for, and his name is Jesus.
Do you believe that about yourself? That you are someone worth dying for? Not because you earned it or because you ( or I ) are good enough, but because that is how God sees you. In God’s eyes you are worth dying for; you are worth His dying for you. That is the Gospel; that is grace; and that has the power to transform…you…me. That is what I saw on my weekend in Long Island on a retreat called “Credo”.
It was one of those glimpses of grace… when we look and listen for the work of the Lord around us.
I hope to share more of them in my (almost)weekly email messages to you.
Here are some notes to pass on:
See you on Sunday,