In November of 2003, I remember having a very philosophical conversation with a young man who was a friend at the time. He wasn’t a real friend. He was the worldly, crab in the barrel, company-while-you’re-getting-high kind of friend.
That evening, as we sat there, hiding from life and our various hurts, I felt very wise as I advised him about his current situation. Apparently, there was a good woman to whom he wouldn’t commit, and instead, he kept choosing the same type of unstable relationship. The answer to his situation seemed so clear – he was caught in a circular web of fear. It wasn’t the first time I had given someone that particular kind of advice. But that night was different.
Suddenly, and much to my surprise, the Lord opened my eyes, and for the first time, I truly looked and saw
With new revelation, I could see the chains of fear that had kept me falsely imprisoned for so long. And all at once, more than anything I had wanted in a long time, I wanted to be free.
Alone, the Lord accomplished the miraculous in my life.
Despite how bleak my future looked to my therapist, my doctors, my friends, and much of my family – Jesus entered my life, cleansed my heart, and rescued me. He performed the impossible against a million-to-one odds, and still, today, I am humbled by his power, mercy, and grace.
But that wasn’t the end of my story.
The trauma of what I endured as a slave to sin would take years to heal from. Indeed, I am still recovering.
Yet, God consistently proves Himself faithful.
As I have grown in Christ I have had mountaintop experiences, and I have been bowed over in exhaustion, worn and broken in the valley. At my weakest points, one truth has shown brighter than all others:
Christ’s power in made perfect in my weakness.
I have endured hurts and disappointments that I am almost certain were designed to destroy me. In truth, there were times when I almost wished they would – if only to escape the heartbreak and fear that seemingly assaulted me on all sides.
But, as I have kept my eyes on Him, choosing to stand on His promises and trusting in His provision,
He has never let me fall.
Sometimes the best fight we can offer is to resolve to stand on faith – and if we must fall, to land with desperate, gritty, determined faith, onto our knees.
I would like to be able to say that after the Lord removed my chains in 2003 I was never bound again. But to do so would be untruthful.
While the Lord has faithfully kept me from returning to the drug, alcohol, and sexual addictions that kept me broken, He continues to show me that:
The sins of self-interest: pride, anger, fear, and selfishness, are often at the root of our rebellious behavior. And only a walk by the Spirit, committed and submitted to the Lord, allows us victory over those.
Some seasons are better than others.
I have encountered trials that require me to cling forcefully to Christ if I have any hope of peace, joy, or victory. And interestingly, these have also provided my greatest experiences of peace, joy, and victory.
Those are the seasons when faith makes room for God’s abundant grace.
Though eventually, I become comfortable, or perhaps distracted, and my eyes shift their focus. It never occurs quickly, but little choices and seemingly small events signify that my attention has drifted. Inevitably, I find that I have wandered into an unkempt garden, overrun with prickly thorns and tangled vines of self-interest.
But even when I have fallen short, I find joy in being known by Christ because
His power is made perfect in my weakness.
Daily, we can rejoice because there is forgiveness at the cross.
With a shout of victory, we can dance unbound because there is freedom by His Spirit.
And as we press ever closer to Christ, our individual stories, by the grace of His love and through the might of His power, are steadily unfolding.